The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s David Wickert reports that a former MARTA official says revenues for Clayton County’s MARTA expansion—including Bus Rapid Transit—is short by $160 million and that other MARTA project revenue shortfalls total more than a billion dollars.

The story broke after former MARTA Deputy General Manager Josh Rowan cited a December 2022 “third-party financial capacity analysis draft report” in a LinkedIn post announcing that he had been let go without cause. Rowan was hired last August.

The Clayton Crescent has asked Chairman Jeff Turner for comment on the AJC report and will update when we hear back. We’ve also asked MARTA for a copy of the report to which Rowan referred in his LinkedIn post.

Clayton County residents and officials have expressed disappointment with the BRT plan, saying they had hoped for commuter rail instead. Some have interpreted the BRT as a form of second-class treatment that wealthier counties would not have gotten. County officials have said that Norfolk Southern was unwilling to share its track area with MARTA, effectively killing the deal due to lack of space along Hwy. 54 (Jonesboro Road).

At its October 12, 2022 meeting, Clayton County’s MARTA Citizens Advisory Board said federal funding was “still pending” for both the Southlake and State Route 54 BRT lines, and asked, “Where are we in the process of BRT coming to Clayton County?” The board also decided that “We need to communicate the decisions/changes that have been made prior to discussing BRT coming.”

Another major project slated for Clayton County, a multipurpose operations and maintenance facility, is set to begin construction next year at the old Kmart Distribution Center in Forest Park on Old Dixie Highway. A MARTA report calls the area a “greyfield,” meaning that the site is a largely underused paved area that is not considered to be contaminated. The maintenance facility would involve repairing, servicing, and washing MARTA buses. MARTA says it recycles 90 percent of its water: “We reclaim 90 percent of the water we use every day. This includes the 200 gallons used to wash a single bus and the 1,500 gallons used to wash a six-car train. Through water reclamation, we treat and reuse the same water to wash our vehicles over and over again.”

Forest Park has several industrial properties surrounding residential and public property in the immediate area, including a Clorox plant, a trucking refueling station, and a Waste Management transfer station serving metro Atlanta, among others.

You can see MARTA’s financial documentation on their website.

Read an environmental impact study about the Forest Park maintenance facility.

You also can contact the members of Clayton County’s MARTA Citizens Advisory Board to let them know your thoughts.

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