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MARTA Board Approves Fiscal Year 2023 Budget



Written by David C. Lester, Editor

MARTA has completed its fiscal year 2023 budget.

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The Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) Board of Directors has adopted the Authority’s operating and capital budgets for fiscal year 2023.

The $1.3 billion budget includes $587.6 million in operating funds and $717 million for capital programs.

MARTA presented a balanced budget for the eleventh consecutive year with no fare increases and on the heels of unprecedented fare revenue losses due to the pandemic. MARTA is more heavily dependent on sales tax revenue than some peer transit agencies, and with these revenues seeing strong growth, combined with the latest drawdown of federal COVID relief money, the Authority is well positioned to resume pre-COVID operating levels and advance its capital improvement program.

“The biggest problem facing the transit industry right now, and frankly, most industries, is the shortage of workers. We are using every hiring platform and tool available to us to hire and train operators as ridership recovers,” said MARTA Managing Director and Interim CEO Collie Greenwood. “We actively recruit employees, hold frequent job fairs and offer signing bonuses to stay competitive. As people come back to MARTA, we need to be able to meet the demand for service.

Ridership demand has increased, with rail slightly outperforming bus. Recently, rising fuel prices have provided an opportunity to win customers without affecting MARTA’s results. A bus uses the same amount of fuel whether it is carrying two people or 20, and MARTA covers part of its fuel costs to protect against price spikes. Electric-powered trains and all-electric buses, the first of which entered service this spring, are safe. MARTA is also exploring other ways to increase ridership, including a complete overhaul of its bus network to ensure service responds to changing demographics and service area development, and launching a On-demand transit pilot program to connect people in areas underserved by transit to the larger MARTA system.

MARTA’s capital improvement program is progressing rapidly and includes State of Good Repair (SOGR) projects focused on improving the customer experience, such as ongoing lane replacement to improve system safety rail and reduce delays caused by aging equipment. The capital budget includes more than $70 million for the multi-year station rehabilitation program with Five Points and Bankhead planned for the renovation and extension of the railway platform respectively. Nearly $40 million is earmarked for the purchase of new wagons, the interior and exterior of which debuted in January. The trains represent the largest capital investment ever made at MARTA, at more than $600 million, and the first car is expected to arrive in metro Atlanta in 2025.

Clayton County Operations and Maintenance Facility Received an Unprecedented $33 Million in Federal Grants and Allocations and Clayton Southlake’s Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Advance to Capital Grant Program capital (CIG) from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) as a small start-up project. In Atlanta, Summerhill BRT is nearing construction and decisions are being made regarding the mode and alignment of high-capacity transit along the Campbellton Highway Corridor.

“While this has been a difficult year for the MARTA family, we remain focused on our customers and caring for the system we have today while developing a fair and more connected transit system of the future in a thoughtful and with fiscal responsibility,” MARTA said. Board Chair Rita Scott.

In an ongoing commitment to improving customer service, MARTA is budgeting $9 million this fiscal year for the SMART restroom program. And to save money in the long term, the Authority purchased all parts and equipment from the program at current prices and will use them to upgrade toilets throughout the system over the next few years, making them cleaner, safer and “smarter” warning station. maintainers when supplies are low or the space needs attention.

To see MARTA’s operating and capital budgets for fiscal year 2023 in detail, visit MARTA (itsmarta.com).

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