Governor Deal signs new transit bill

(Source: WGCL)

Metro Atlanta has a new public transportation authority called the Atlanta Regional Transit Link Authority or "the ATL" for short.

Governor deal signed a bill creating a regional transit system to help connect the 13 metro Atlanta counties.

For years area residents have complained about the lack of reliable public transportation when trying to travel from one metro Atlanta county to another county and officials say this efforts unifies all the area transportation system under one umbrella. "The task is two folds, one is explore effective opportunities to expand transit so we can better help people move around the region,” said ATL Executive Director Chris Tomlinson.

In addition Tomlinson says they hope to create one payment system for all area transits. The agency will also help area transit systems get funding for the expansion. “One of the key aspects of the "ATL" is the opportunity for a new transit funding, which would allow any of the 13 counties to do a sales tax of up to 1% for up to 30 years to help pay for this additional transit infrastructure.”

Lawmakers have already allotted $100 million to implement the changes, a move that Tomlinson says confirms the importance of the new agency.

"Transit is going to be our key to our development as well as our economic mobility opportunity. This is about bringing jobs here but it's also about connecting the residents that are already here to a lot of other jobs and opportunities, by providing better connections that we have today, added Tomlinson.

The creation of ATL is still in it's early phase. Officials say their first step is to figure out who will sit on the new transit board.

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