On Thursday, May 3, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal signed legislation that created a regional transit governance and funding structure: The Atlanta-region Transit Link Authority, or the ATL.
The ATL: Making it easier for people within the metro Atlanta region to travel from where they are to where they want or need to be
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The ATL is attached to the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority (GRTA) for shared administrative resources and is governed by a 16-member board. Ten of these members represent 10 new, specially created Transit Districts and are chosen by a combination of county commission chairs and a caucus of local legislative delegations. One mayor, to be selected by a caucus of mayors from the municipalities located within each district, also sits on the board. The board’s chair is appointed by the governor and the vice-chair is selected annually by a vote of the board members. Two board members are appointed by the speaker of the House and two board members are appointed by the lieutenant governor. The commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Transportation will sit on the board as an ex-officio, non-voting member. GRTA and State Road and Tollway Authority Executive Director Christopher Tomlinson serves as the ATL’s interim director.
See Board Members Below:
Charlie Sutlive, Chairman
Charlie Sutlive, Chairman, appointed by Gov. Nathan Deal
Sutlive is the director of corporate communication at Georgia Power. In this role, he provides strategic support for the company’s external and internal communications. Sutlive was previously the vice chancellor for communications and governmental affairs for the University System of Georgia (USG) and led the development and execution of communications, public affairs and economic development plans for USG’s 26 colleges and universities.
Effective January 14, 2019 | See Bio
Rep. Earl Ehrhart, appointed by Speaker of the House David Ralston
Ehrhart is the CEO of Taylor English Decisions. He was elected to the Georgia House of Representatives in 1988 and will conclude his service as a member of the General Assembly in January 2019.
Todd Ver Steeg
Todd Ver Steeg
Ver Steeg is currently the Vice President and part owner of Vermeer Southeast Sales & Service, a construction equipment dealer with eleven locations serving Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and portions of South Carolina. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Management from the Central University of Iowa in Pella, Iowa. He represents Transit District 4.
Michael L. Thurmond
Thurmond is the Chief Executive Officer of Dekalb County. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Philosophy and Religion from Paine College and a Juris Doctorate from the University of South Carolina’s School of Law. He represents Transit District 7.
Teddy Russell, appointed by Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle
Russell is currently the CEO and owner of Russell Landscape. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the Terry College of Business at the University of Georgia.
Russell R. McMurry, P.E.
On Jan. 20, 2015, Commissioner Russell R. McMurry, P.E. was appointed by the State Transportation Board to lead the Georgia Department of Transportation – the $3 billion, 4000-employee state agency responsible for building, maintaining and operating the 10th largest transportation system in the country.
Warbington is currently the City Manager for the City of Lawrenceville. Previously, he worked as a principal manager for a local Architecture/ Engineering firm. He is a graduate of Georgia Tech with a Bachelor of Civil Engineering degree. He represents Transit District 6.
Keisha Lance Bottoms
Bottoms is the Mayor of the City of Atlanta. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Broadcast Journalism from Florida A&M University and a Juris Doctorate from Georgia State University College of Law. She represents Transit District 8.
Mark Toro, appointed by Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle
Toro is a co-founder of North American Properties’ Atlanta office. He previously served in several leadership positions with Faison and Cousins Properties. Toro has acquired, developed or redeveloped more than 70 projects totaling almost 30 million square feet. He attended Rutgers University.
Charlotte J. Nash, appointed by Speaker of the House David Ralston
Nash is the chair of the Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners. She was elected countywide to this position in March 2011 and was reelected in 2012 and 2016. Nash previously worked for the Gwinnett County government for 28 years and retired as the county manager in 2004.
Marsha Anderson Bomar
Bomar is the Executive Director of the Gateway85 Community Improvement District. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and a Masters in Transportation Planning and Engineering from the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn. She also holds a Masters of Civil Engineering from Princeton University. She represents Transit District 2.
Macke is the Vice President External Affairs at Comcast Cable. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of Georgia and master’s degree in Telecommunications Policy from Georgia Institute of Technology. He represents Transit District 1.
Howard A. Mosby, CPA
Effective December 1, 2018 | See Bio
Mosby is the Vice President of Faculty Contracts Administration in Medical Affairs at Grady Health System. He was elected to the Georgia House of Representatives in 2002 and will conclude his service as a member of the General Assembly in December 2018. He represents Transit District 9.
Steve Dickerson, Sc. D.
Dr. Dickerson served as Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Georgia Tech until his retirement in 1996. In 2005 he became an Honorary Alumnus of Georgia Tech. His primary areas of expertise include Urban transportation, automation, and advanced manufacturing. He represents Transit District 3.
Felicia Franklin Warner
Felicia Franklin Warner serves as commissioner with the Clayton County Board of Commissioners. In her professional career, she specializes in real-estate and insurance. She received her bachelors from the University of Miami. She represents Transit District 10.
Weyandt is a former transportation policy and planning official. He has a bachelor’s degree from the Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. He represents Transit District 5.
The Executive Director of the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority (Chris Tomlinson) shall serve as a temporary director until the board is constituted and an executive director is appointed by such board.
The legislation was sponsored by the following:
- Senator Brandon Beach
- Representative Kevin Tanner
- Representative Calvin Smyre
- Representative Christian Coomer
- Representative Jason Shaw
- Representative Mary Margaret Oliver
- Representative Meagan Hanson
The ATL was created as a new regional governance and funding structure, to improve coordination, integration and efficiency of transit in metro Atlanta. A regional transit plan encompassing all transit projects and initiatives will be developed, containing access to new funding sources for activities within it.
Notice is given that the Atlanta-Region Transit Link Authority, with an address located at 245 Peachtree Center Avenue, Suite 2200, Atlanta, GA 30303, has designated Merryl Mandus as the Open Records Officer upon whom requests for inspection and copying should be made. All requests may be emailed to email@example.com and or mailed to 245 Peachtree Center Avenue, Suite 2200, Atlanta, GA 30303.
The structure of the ATL is comprised of five essential components.
The ATL in 5 Parts
1. Regional Governance
A 16-member Board of Directors will be named by Dec. 1, 2018. Members will serve four-year terms. The Board will be comprised of:
2. Regional Transit Plan
A core activity of the ATL will be the development of
a regional transit plan developed for six and 20-year
time horizons. The plan will be developed in consultation with the region’s metropolitan planning organizations.
3. Regional Transit Funds
The ATL improves access to transit funding and expands
transit-specific local sales and use tax (TSPLOST) options. Counties within the ATL can hold a referendum to raise an additional sales tax of up to 1 percent for up to 30 years.
4. Regional Unified Branding
The ATL will create a unified brand to encompass all transit
service providers within the jurisdiction. The new logo must
be utilized by MARTA on certain new assets acquired after Jan.1, 2019 and all transit assets by 2023.
5. Interaction with Existing Transit Operators
The ATL will work collaboratively with transit service
providers operating within the region.
Planning and Funding
The regional transit plan is one of two core activities for the ATL. It will serve as the official multiyear plan for transit services and facilities for a 13-county area – Cherokee, Clayton, Coweta, Cobb, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Forsyth, Fulton, Gwinnett, Henry, Paulding and Rockdale.
Regional stakeholders, including local governments, may submit requests to the ATL for additions and amendments to the plan based on changing conditions. After Jan. 1, 2019, referendum transit projects must be in the plan and approved by the ATL.
The ATL will oversee all federal and state transit funds in the region, which is its second core activity. Counties within the ATL can hold a referendum to raise an additional sales tax of up to 1 percent for up to 30 years. Counties outside of 13-county region can pair together to use new T-SPLOST authority.
The ATL can issue its own bonds and work with other state agencies to issue bonds.
Special provisions are included for Gwinnett, Cobb and Fulton counties.
- Gwinnett County – Will hold a March 2019 TSPLOST referendum on joining MARTA.
- Cobb County – can create a special district within Cobb, hold a TSPLOST referendum and enter into a contract with MARTA to provide transit services within such special district at any time up to Dec. 1, 2019.
- Fulton County – can hold a referendum for additional a 0.2 percent sales tax for non heavy rail transit.
All existing transit agencies still exist and will continue to exist. These include MARTA, the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority, the State Road and Tollway Authority, the Atlanta Regional Commission, Gwinnett County Transit, CobbLinc, CATS and others.
The Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority ,will have with exclusive authority for operating region’s existing heavy rail system, including any new heavy rail projects. MARTA controls its current local funding and federal formula funding, and its legal contractual obligations are unaffected.
The Georgia Regional Transportation Authority’s (GRTA) authority over the Transportation Improvement Program (TIP, the Developments of Regional Impact and the Governor’s Development Council remain intact as they exist today.
The ATL is administratively attached to GRTA. GRTA’s role in regional transit transitions to the ATL no later than July 1, 2020.
The State Road and Tollway Authority’s (SRTA) tolling, Georgia Transportation Infrastructure Bank ,and transportation financing roles remain intact.
SRTA’s GO! Transit program will be coordinated with the ATL. SRTA’s role in regional transit operations transitions to the ATL no later than July 1, 2021.
The Atlanta Regional Commission and the ATL will work closely together to revise current regional transit process. They also will work to ensure that the regional transit plan aligns and integrates with TIP and STP processes and funding.
Gwinnett County, CobbLinc and the Cherokee Area Transportation System (CATS) have many options going forward.
Make it easier for people within metro Atlanta to go from where they are to where they want or need to be within the region.
The benefits to visitors and residents of metro Atlanta are numerous. With the ATL, the state of Georgia will be able to:
- Plan strategic transit expansion projects within the region.
- Mesh the current service offerings into a connected network of options for current and potential customers
- Combine existing public transportation resources with innovative partnerships with private sector providers, such as rideshare companies and technology providers
- Increase the seamlessness of the customer experience
- Address first mile and last mile connectivity gaps
- To Improve overall value for the end user
- Transition from providing segmented trips where we plan in silos defined by modes to providing integrated journeys across multiple travel modes where and when it makes sense