Transit master plan kickoff planned in October

Henry County’s transit master plan is planned to kickoff in October after the Atlanta Transit Link (ATL) Authority and county staff selected a consultant for the project. The ATL Authority and Henry County approved an intergovernmental agreement for the plan in May 2020.

The master plan aims to complete the following objectives:

  • Assist the county in identifying short, mid, and long-range plans for Henry County Transit (HCT) — the county’s existing demand-response transit provider.
  • Engage with the general public and stakeholder groups through community outreach to receive feedback about public transit and identify levels of support for potential projects.
  • Provide direction and guidance in how the county should develop its public transportation program, including operational improvements and a capital plan.
  • Prepare for an expected loss-of-funding for Henry County Transit when HCT is reclassified from a rural area service provider to urban area service provider following the 2020 Census. Define which type of transit service (fixed-route, demand-response, micro-transit, etc.) is feasible and develop a robust financial plan how to fund such service.
  • Inform Henry County officials and residents about future public transportation needs, the projects that address those needs, and the costs and benefits of those projects.
  • Review adjoining county and regional transit plans to provide context around Henry County Transit projects and how they will connect to the larger regional network.
Photo of Henry County Transit bus (Henry Herald photo)
(Henry Herald photo)

Vanasse Hangen Brustlin, Inc. (VHB) is the prime consultant for the project. A project kick-off meeting is planned for October 5, 2020. Following the kick-off meeting and subsequent approval of the project management plan, the consultant will develop a public involvement plan and launch the project website.

The question has been asked if the intent behind the transit master plan is to bring MARTA to Henry County. As the exclusive operator under state law of the region’s heavy rail system, including any new heavy rail projects, a long-range project with MARTA may emerge from the transit plan if public input supports it; however, that is unlikely given the cost of heavy-rail projects — typically estimated at $250 million dollars per mile. More likely options to provide greater connectivity with the rest of the Atlanta region include either an expansion of Xpress-operated or starting county-operated commuter bus service. Public feedback will gauge the level of support, if any, for these projects.

The transit master plan is funded through up to $520,000 in federal transit administration (FTA) funds and $130,000 in county funds. The master plan is estimated to last one year to complete.

Moving Henry Forward will promote opportunities for public input when they occur and encourages all residents to participate.