The Henry County Board of Commissioners have passed a resolution in support of the new Atlanta Transit Link Authority. The ATL was created this past spring by state lawmakers under House Bill 930 with the goal to better connect transit services within the metro Atlanta area and consolidate regional transit planning under one umbrella. There are presently ten transit agencies, including Henry County Transit, operating within the thirteen-county metro area. The new law does not force any consolidation of agencies, but rather strives to improve transfers and co-op between existing systems.
The commissioners voted 5-1 in favor of the resolution. Commissioner Blake Prince was the lone vote in opposition.
Henry County Chair June Wood presented to her colleagues an overview of the steps Henry County has taken up to this point regarding transit. The existing on-demand service has operated since 1990, but the system is now running at capacity unable to accommodate all of the requests for service. A few years ago in 2016, the board funded a transit feasibility study as part of the larger comprehensive transportation plan update. [PDF link to study] Earlier this year, the county launched its first fixed route service in the north Henry area.
The ATL Authority will be governed by a sixteen-member board. The goal of local officials is to have Henry County represented within the board’s members, and to have a voice within regional transit planning. One project frequently discussed has been a commuter rail line thru Jonesboro and Hampton to Griffin. Clayton County and MARTA are in preliminary engineering to design, and eventually build, the line from East Point to Jonesboro.
Transit projects take ten to twenty years to implement. The Henry County government has shown no intentions to hold a transit sales tax referendum and launch large-scale bus services today, but rather to lay the foundation for future service. Transit will be an essential part of the county’s future as our population continues to grow to over 350,000 by the year 2040.