MARTA board approves Atlanta expansion plan

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Board members for the Metropolitan Atlanta Regional Transit Authority unanimously approved a massive expansion and improvement plan Thursday afternoon.

The $2.7 billion "More MARTA Atlanta" program will add transit connectivity to the Beltline, Campbellton Road, the Atlanta University Center and the Clifton corridor over the next 40 years.  It also allocates money for improvement to existing rail stations and bus service.

"This is an important day in the history of Atlanta and a particularly important day for the story of MARTA," said MARTA Board Chair Robert Ashe.

The majority of the funding for the program will come from a half-penny sales tax that City of Atlanta voters approved in 2016.

Some spoke against the plan at Thursday's meeting, citing the need for expanded transit in other areas, specifically south DeKalb County.

"We deserve more train stations in DeKalb County, period," said Ed Williams.

MARTA officials, however, stress that they understand this is just one piece of a much larger puzzle. 

"We recognize that there are a lot of unmet needs," Ashe explained.

The next step is for MARTA officials to prioritize the project list and present it to the board for approval.  That will likely happen sometime in the next two months.