July 19, 2011
Emory is backing a call to action to get a major transportation project funded.
The Clifton Corridor Transit Initiative (CCTI) has survived two cuts from a recommended list of state transportation projects planned with funding from a 'yes' vote in 2012.
On Thursday, July 21, that list will be further reduced to match projected cost with projected revenue from a proposed special tax.
A referendum, the Transportation Investment Act, will be on the ballot during next year's primary election. Voters statewide will decide if they want a special one-cent sales tax to pay for transportation projects.
The CCTI is a proposed new transit line linking the Clifton Corridor to the Lindbergh MARTA station. The CCTI includes a new link from Armour Yard (between the Piedmont Road and Monroe Drive exits off I-85), connecting to MARTA's red and gold lines, to provide access to Doraville, North Springs and the airport.
"The Clifton Corridor Transit Initiative is of particular importance to the thousands of employees and residents who work and live in the Clifton Corridor, as it would have a significantly positive impact by reducing congestion and provide a much-needed alternative to single occupancy vehicles," says Betty Willis, Emory's senior associate vice president for governmental and community affairs.
Willis said the mode of transportation has not been determined. Light rail, heavy rail, bus rapid transit, on ground and/or tunnels in some areas have been discussed.
"MARTA is still seeking community input as part of their study and won't have a decision until late summer," she says.
Willis is urging the Emory community to contact the Atlanta Regional Commission Roundtable (PDF), the group of elected officials deciding on the projects.
"The CCTI is one of the priority transit projects currently being considered and it must remain on the list being formed by the Roundtable in order to receive funding in the future," she says. "It will be critically important to communicate to the ARC Roundtable members, especially those representing DeKalb County—CEO Burrell Ellis and Decatur Mayor Bill Floyd."
The Roundtable's draft final list is due by Aug. 15. Following public hearings in August and September, the vote on the final list will be Oct. 15.
Willis noted that the Clifton Corridor is the largest activity center in the Atlanta region with no direct access to the interstate system or to MARTA.
"Only two- and four-lane arterial roads feed into the Corridor, and they are highly congested during peak hours," she points out.
A major factor pushing the project, she said, is the regional connectivity it would provide to one of the largest employment centers in the metro area, which is expected to expand even more with the addition of a variety of construction and expansion projects in the Clifton Corridor. She cited construction of new facilities for Emory University Hospital; the Health Sciences Research Building; additional expansion of the federal Centers for Disease Control; Emory Point, the new mixed-use development under construction on Clifton Road; and other projects.
"The projected ridership is forecasted to be significant and the jobs created from the project would also be an added benefit to the region," Willis says.