Atlanta transit agency moves ahead with bus rapid transit

asphalt detail of road road tile road projects construction road work / Getty Images

ATLANTA (AP) -- Atlanta's first bus rapid transit line is moving forward.

Directors of the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority voted Thursday to award an $11.3 million engineering contract for a bus rapid transit line that will run south of downtown Atlanta.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports it will be the first of a number of projects that Atlanta city voters approved in 2016 when they agreed to a half-cent sales tax to supplement the service the regional agency provides.

The 2.4-mile (3.9-kilometer) line is a small part of the 35 miles (56 kilometers) of bus rapid transit that the agency has planned in Atlanta and Clayton County. On a bus rapid transit line, buses travel in dedicated lanes and make fewer stops. Passengers pay in advance and board at designated stations.

Construction is supposed to begin on the $68 million line in 2022, with service beginning in 2024. It would run south from Georgia State University and the state capitol.

MARTA also plans a line running west from Georgia Tech, another running south, and a 24-mile (39-kilometer) route from College Park south to Morrow and Jonesboro in Clayton County.