Clifton Corridor op ed

from Betty E. Willis, Senior Associate Vice President Government & Community Affairs, Emory University:

Dear friends and neighbors,

If you are so inclined, please share the attached op-ed with your neighbors or any media connections you may have.  It is being circulated to local media outlets/publications as part of a consolidated effort with MARTA to help get the word out about the importance of the Clifton Corridor transit line and current legislation we hope will be approved by the General Assembly this session that would provide the funding for it.  There has been a lot of negative attention at the Capitol and in the media about Fulton elected officials disagreeing on MARTA expansion up GA 400 and we think it is important to re-shift the focus to a project that has broad and strong support.  We want to highlight positive attention on the other MARTA projects in DeKalb (Clifton Corridor and I-20) that would also benefit from passage of transit funding legislation which is the purpose of this op-ed.

Please feel free to call or email me with any questions you may have.  Many thanks for your help in sharing with your contacts!

My best,
Betty E. Willis
 
Senior Associate Vice President
Government & Community Affairs
Emory University
 
Executive Director
Clifton Community Partnership
 
President
Clifton Corridor Transportation Management Association
 
1599 Clifton Road, NE, 5th Floor
Atlanta, GA 30322
Phone: 404.727.5312
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Unlock Transit Funding Gridlock
 
Much attention and controversy has been focused on expanding transit further into North Fulton, and 
 
those commuters who have to endure traffic gridlock on GA 400 are quick to say is greatly needed.  No 
 
doubt, additional transit would bring relief and hopefully elected officials will allow the voters to decide 
 
what they desire to have in their community. 
 
 
But let’s not lose sight of other MARTA projects on the priority runway also awaiting the opportunity for 
 
citizens in DeKalb to decide their fate.  One of those projects is an 8.8 mile light rail expansion from the 
 
Lindbergh MARTA station to the Avondale Station that would serve the heavily congested Clifton 
 
Corridor, which is the largest employment center in the Metro region that has no direct access to 
 
MARTA’s rail system or an interstate highway. The over 30,000 employees who work in the Corridor and 
 
the many patients, visitors, students and residents who have no choice but to endure wasted time sitting 
 
in their cars on the ancillary roads leading to the area, beg for an alternative.  The Clifton Corridor is 
 
home to Emory, the largest employer in DeKalb and third largest in Metro Atlanta; Emory Healthcare, the 
 
most comprehensive health care system in Georgia; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; 
 
Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta; the VA Medical Center and other organizations that contribute billions of 
 
dollars annually into the region’s economy. 
 
 
Since the 1960’s, regional planning maps have included a proposed transit line connecting the Clifton 
 
Corridor into the MARTA system and the current proposed light rail project has been progressing through 
 
the federal planning process for over 15 years.  Countless community meetings and stakeholder planning 
 
sessions have taken place over the years and there is overwhelming support in the Corridor area for this 
 
light rail line.  In addition to providing an option for those already commuting to the Corridor, it would give 
 
new transit access to thousands of other jobs for commuters from the Avondale Station and would serve 
 
the DeKalb Medical Center and the many large commercial and residential redevelopments already 
 
planned along the route.
 
 
The Metro region is already decades behind in expanding MARTA and the long-awaited transit relief for 
 
the Clifton Corridor is still stuck in transit funding gridlock. Legislation currently before lawmakers at the 
 
state Capitol would provide the funding desperately needed to build the Clifton Corridor line and other rail 
 
expansion MARTA needs to keep our region competitive and provide services our citizens want and 
 
need.  Rather than let a handful of elected officials decide our region’s prosperity and fate, it’s time to let 
 
the voters weigh in on their future and those of generations to come.  We have an opportunity to unlock 
 
transit funding gridlock and we cannot afford to wait any longer.
 
 
Senior Associate Vice President
 
Government & Community Affairs
 
Emory University
 
Executive Director
 
Clifton Community Partnership
 
Clifton Corridor Transportation Management Association