The Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) is hosting three public meetings on September 11, 12, and 13.
Donald Williams, MARTA's Senior Director of Transit Planning said the meetings are to give people an overview of the planning process to extend MARTA along the I-20 east corridor and to find out what type of impact that extension will have on the environment.
"To give people an opportunity to voice their concerns and issues with regards to the proposed alignment of the I-20 east corridor," said Williams.
MARTA is moving forward with this environmental impact study, even though it doesn't have the money to complete the project.
"I think what's going to happen is this environmental study is going to be finished, completed and sit on a shelf somewhere. It's going to be wasted time, energy and effort by virtue of the fact that funds are going to be difficult to find," said State Senator Vincent Fort.
Fort supports MARTA and its efforts to extend service, but he doesn't support the project without the funds.
Fort said he would have supported the failed 1-cent transportation sales tax if it had provided MARTA the local funds to complete rail service from downtown Atlanta to Stonecrest Mall in DeKalb County.
"I think most people in the metro area agree that South DeKalb deserves a rail line. It was just unfortunate that the money was taken out of the T-SPLOST proposal," said Fort.
Williams said the environmental impact study is important as MATA moves forward with the planning phase of the project.
"This is just another step in the planning process. After we finish with the environmental process, we are going to go into the preliminary engineering design.We already have the funding in our capitol program to do that," said Williams. "We're going to continue to move the project forward as we look to get some type of federal funding or some public private partnership."
The first meeting is Monday, Sept. 10 from 6-8 p.m. at Trees Atlanta located at 225 Chester Avenue in Atlanta.
Tuesday, Sept. 11 from 6-8 p.m. at Porter Sanford III Performing Arts & Community Center. It's located at 3181 Rainbow Dr. in Decatur.
The third meeting is Thursday, Sept. 13 from 6-8 p.m. at Lou Walker Senior Center. It's located at 2538 Panola Rd. in Lithonia.
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