Some Facts About Marta

MARTA Train.jpg

The power of partnership

This year, MARTA celebrates its 40th year as a combined bus and rail transit system. MARTA is the ninth largest transit system in the U.S. and the largest of its kind in the Southeast that provides bus, rail, and paratransit service. Bus and rail service is provided seven days a week, including direct access to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

MARTA is funded by a one-cent sales tax collected in Clayton, DeKalb, and Fulton counties; and a 1.5 cents levy in the City of Atlanta.

MARTA’s Economic Impact  

Employees from fourteen out of the eighteen fastest growing industry sectors in metro Atlanta commute using MARTA.

$2.6 billiontotal economic activity generated annually24,864direct and indirect jobs supported annually


MARTA is a Tier 1 Homeland Security transit system and the police department is CALEA Gold Standard of Excellence certified. With six precincts and officers placed across the system, MARTA consistently ranks as one of the safest transit systems in the country.

Key Gwinnett Facts

  1. Gwinnett is on track to be the most populated county in the entire state of Georgia. It’s expected to add an additional 600,000 residents over about 20 years, nearly doubling the population.

  2. If the referendum passes, MARTA will implement the county’s Connect Gwinnett transit plan, which includes short, medium, and long-range transit projects including heavy rail.

  3. MARTA will recruit Gwinnett employees for employment opportunities created at as a result of the referendum.

  4. Gwinnett County is slated to receive three voting seats on the MARTA board of directors.

Why Transit 

  1. Every $1 invested in public transportation generates $4 in economic returns.

  2. Home values performed 42% better than when located near high-frequency public transit.

  3. A total of 87% of trips on public transit have a direct impact on the local economy.

  4. A household can save nearly $10,000 by taking public transportation and living with one less car.

Source: https://www.itsmarta.com/gw-factsheet.aspx


Funding Plan

The Gwinnett Transit Plan makes the one-cent tax part of a much larger way to fund transit needs, unlocking Federal and State matching.

6.2 Sources of Funds

The Connect Gwinnett: Transit Plan assumes revenue from the following sources:

  • One Cent Local Sales Tax

  • Farebox Revenues

  • Federal and State Funds

  • Other Sources

6.2.1 Projected Sales Tax Generation

Gwinnett County finance staff provided sales tax revenue projections for use in this project’s 30-year cash flow analysis. Projected revenues from a one penny sales tax is estimated to be $152.1 million in 2019. A 1.5 percent annual real increase in sales tax revenues is assumed through 2024. A 1 percent annual real increase in sales tax revenues is assumed for subsequent years. This growth rate would occur as a result of growth in Gwinnett County’s population and employment base. Total potential revenues from a one cent sales tax over 30 years (2019 through 2048) is just over $5.4 billion (2018 dollars).

6.2.2 Farebox Revenues

The Connect Gwinnett financial plan assumes farebox revenue recovery rates that cover a certain percentage of projected operating costs. Assumed farebox recovery rates are as follows:

  • Local and Flex Service – 15 percent

  • Rapid, Direct Connect, HRT and BRT Service – 30 percent

  • Express Service – 40 percent

  • Paratransit Service – 5 percent

Assumptions for Local, Paratransit, and Express service farebox recovery rates are in-line with current Gwinnett Transit farebox recovery ratios.

6.2.3 Federal Funds

The financial plan assumes different federal participation rates depending on the expenditure. Capital projects were identified as being either eligible or ineligible for federal funds. Those projects identified as having potential eligibility for federal funds are as follows:

  • MARTA Rail extension

  • BRT projects

  • Four of the Rapid Transit Projects

  • All transit center projects

  • Six of the twelve park-and-ride projects

  • A new maintenance facility

  • Fleet TSP enhancement

For all but one project, it is assumed that federal funds will cover 45 percent of costs for projects

identified as being eligible for federal funds. The one project with a different funding assumption is this Plan’s initial BRT project along the Buford Highway/Satellite Drive (BRT Route 700) is assumed to be a FTA Small starts-eligible project. This project has an estimated capital cost of approximately $300 million. The Small Starts program limits federal funds to $100 million for a project. The assumed federal participation rate for this project is 30 percent.

Federal funds have been assumed for vehicle fleet expansion and replacement. A 60 percent federal participation rate is assumed for vehicle purchases. Federal funds have also been assumed to cover a portion of O&M costs.

6.2.4 State Funds

With the recent passage of HB 930, the State of Georgia is more actively participating in the planning and implementation of Atlanta region transit projects. The Connect Gwinnett: Transit Plan assumes 5 percent state funding contributions towards federally funded capital projects and towards annual O&M cost expenditures with a maximum annual O&M contribution cap of $5 million per year.

6.2.5 Other Funds

Finally, it is recognized that other sources may be available for funding annual operations and

maintenance costs. This may include public-private partnerships for service delivery, advertising, and other fees. It is assumed that 5 percent of annual O&M costs will be funded from other sources with a maximum annual contribution cap of $5 million per year.

Recommendations from the published Gwinnett Transit Plan (pp 158-159)