Outside of Atlanta, Gwinnett County eyeing MARTA – again

Written by David C. Lester, Editor-in-Chief
Gwinnett County is a large (436 square mile) suburban/exurban county included in the metropolitan Atlanta area, northeast of the city center.  Proponents and opponents of extending the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) into the county have debated the issue for years.

In a referendum in March of this year, a plan to bring bus and heavy rail service into the county was rejected by voters.  About 54 percent of the voters opposed the plan.

The Atlanta Business Chronicle is reporting that planners and officials in Gwinnett are putting together a new plan to bring MARTA to the county.  Gwinnett County Commission Chairman Charlotte Nash said they hope to bring the new plan before the voters in 2020.  Nash made her remarks earlier this month at a meeting that is part of the “Atlanta Business Chronicle’s Defining Atlanta” series, and the topic was how to manage suburban growth in Atlanta.

A key driver in Gwinnett’s push for MARTA service is to attract business investment in the county, which will bring jobs.  Gwinnett leaders are encouraged by a trend of companies moving from suburban locations to be close to MARTA heavy rail and bus stations closer to the city center, but still outside of the downtown area, where there is much less room for new development.  For example, State Farm Insurance Company is building it’s Park Center project, a 1.7 million-square-foot development with 2,600 employees (and expected to reach 8,000 employees) that will be connected to the Dunwoody MARTA station.  Dunwoody is a suburb of Atlanta and has seen tremendous growth over the past thirty years.

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