The Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) Board of Directors on June 8 adopted the agency’s Fiscal Year 2024 (FY24) Operating and Capital Budgets. The $1.6 billion budget includes $712.4 million in gross operating funds and $854.5 million for capital programming.
According to MARTA, the agency “continues to show fiscal responsibility, balancing the budget for a twelfth straight year without a fare increase.” In an ongoing commitment to improving customer service, MARTA says the budget “supports the resumption of pre-pandemic levels of bus and rail service, and the advancement of large capital projects, including beginning construction on the region’s first bus rapid transit (BRT) line.”
Ridership demand is increasing, according to the agency, especially to large events, such as the recent Taylor Swift concerts, and while the rise of remote work has impacted peak ridership, MARTA says customers are taking more off-peak trips, in effect evening out the numbers. “The carry-over of reserves, combined with robust sales tax revenue, from which MARTA derives a significant part of its operating budget, puts the Authority in a strong financial position to deliver pre-COVID service levels and make improvements systemwide,” MARTA stated in a release.
MARTA’s Capital Improvement Program continues to advance, with several projects entering design or construction phases, including Summerhill BRT and the Clayton County Operations and Maintenance Facility. The budget includes State of Good Repair (SOGR) projects focused on improving the customer experience with $50 million for the multi-year Station Rehabilitation Program and close to $60 million for the procurement of new railcars. Additionally, the budget allocates $20 million for elevator and escalator rehabilitation, $7 million for deep cleaning of rail stations, and $3.4 million for new bus shelter amenities across the system.
“MARTA’s priorities are clearly reflected in the FY24 budget,” said MARTA General Manager and CEO Collie Greenwood. “We are investing in our employees and our customer experience, and that means restoring service to pre-COVID levels, continuing to add bus shelters throughout the system, getting our first Bus Rapid Transit and Arterial Rapid Transit lines under construction and getting ready for our new rail cars. As riders return to MARTA, we are committed to providing an experience and service level they can enjoy and rely on.”
“MARTA’s fiscal health and responsibility has been recognized by top credit and bonding agencies in the country, earning two AAA bond ratings,” said MARTA Board Chair Thomas Worthy. “My fellow board members and I are committed to ensuring MARTA remains a good steward of public money and continues providing safe, equitable service with a focus on expansion.”
MARTA’s FY24 Operating and Capital Budgets are available in detail here.