The Dunwoody City Council will hear a presentation on the new Atlanta-Region Transit Link Authority, or the ATL, at its July 23 meeting starting at 6 p.m. at City Hall, 4800 Ashford-Dunwoody Road.

House Bill 930, approved by the General Assembly this year and signed into law by Gov. Nathan Deal, created the ATL as a new board to oversee transit in the 13-county metro Atlanta region. The board is also charged with coming up with a regional transit plan and will oversee funding for transit.

The bill outlines funding for public transit for approval by the ATL through optional local taxes (TSPLOST) of up to 1 percent for up to 30 years, which counties may apply if they so choose. The 13-county region under the ATL are Cherokee, Clayton, Cobb, Coweta, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Forsyth, Fulton, Gwinnett, Henry, Paulding and Rockdale counties, according to a press release from the governor’s office.

The ATL will also be attached to the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority (GRTA) for shared administrative resources and will be governed by a 16-member board. Ten of these members will represent 10 new, specially created transit districts and will be chosen by a combination of county commission chairs and a caucus of local legislative delegations. One mayor, to be selected by a caucus of mayors from the municipalities located within each district, will also sit on the board.

The essential components of the ATL as described by the State Road and Tollway Authority (SRTA) are:

1. Regional governance: A 16-member board of directors will be named by Dec. 1. Members will serve four-year terms.

2. Transit funding: The ATL improves access to transit funding and expands transit-specific local sales and use tax (TSPLOST). Counties within the ATL can hold a referendum to raise an additional sales tax of up to 1 percent for up to 30 years.

3. Regional transit plan: A core activity of the ATL will be the development of a regional transit plan developed for six and 20-year time horizons. The plan will be developed in consultation with the region’s metropolitan planning organizations.

4. Interaction with existing transit operators: Current providers – particularly MARTA – have their current operational and funding autonomy preserved. MARTA is the sole provider of heavy rail in the region.

5. Regional unified branding: As of Jan. 1, 2019, new MARTA assets greater than $250,000 must display the ATL brand. By Jan. 1, 2023, all transit systems must use the unified logo and brand.


Dyana Bagby is a staff writer for Reporter Newspapers and Atlanta Intown.