At the annual State of MARTA address, GM/CEO Keith T. Parker detailed the Authority’s accomplishments from 2016 and laid the foundation for 2017 endeavors.
“Today’s MARTA Means More,” the theme for this year’s address highlighted significant achievements for the country’s ninth largest transit agency that included passing the half-cent sales tax referendum in the City of Atlanta that will generate approximately $2.5 billion over the next 40 years; breaking ground on two Transit Oriented Developments—at the Edgewood/Candler Park and Avondale stations; kicking off the world’s first onsite soccer field at Five Points; receiving bond ratings upgrades from Wall Street; and adding to a rainy day fund valued at $250 million.
“MARTA has much more to offer the City of Atlanta and the entire region. Our investment in Atlanta and willingness to provide more transit amenities and increase connections, security and trust helps to drive long-term economic growth in this global market,” said MARTA GM/CEO Keith T. Parker. “We have come a long way, yet we recognize there is much more to accomplish. The MARTA staff—from frontline employees to senior management—have a commitment to routine excellence, and I believe that is profoundly evident in the work we do every day.”
In his annual update, Parker also referenced significant partnerships that have helped propel the Authority forward, such as nationally renowned artist Fahamu Pecou creating “Rise Above” at the King Memorial Station; ride-sharing collaborations with Uber, Lyft, Zipcar and the City of Atlanta’s bike-sharing program that were implemented to help with first- and last-mile connectivity; and the expansion of Fresh MARTA Markets, pop-up farmers markets that allowed customers to shop for locally sourced produce at the College Park, Five Points, H. E. Holmes, and West End stations.
In addition to these highlights from last year, Parker announced plans for LINK Southwest, a proposed transit project that will provide enhanced connectivity for residents in southwest Atlanta to Five Points Station, the Authority’s hub for its rail lines.
“We can now say with confidence that MARTA will not just survive, but will thrive moving into the future,” said MARTA Board Chairman Robbie Ashe. “Our finances are strong, business and residents are moving to be near MARTA, and every day we work, under Keith’s leadership to create an organization that embodies routine excellence in everything we do.” In December, Ashe and the MARTA Board of Directors approved the extension of Parker’s existing contract through 2021 in recognition of MARTA’s turnaround under his tenure.
“What Keith Parker and the MARTA board have done is change the face of this organization and made people believe in it again,” said Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed. “With MARTA, we will build the spine of our infrastructure and ignite our future.”
At this year’s event, MARTA employee Noble F. Phillips received the inaugural Harold S. Buckley Service Award that recognizes the exceptional contributions made by a MARTA employee who inspires and sets the example as a positive and uplifting human spirit for MARTA. The award is in recognition of the late Harold S. Buckley, MARTA’s longest serving board member, who was a stalwart supporter of MARTA and transit in Atlanta and the region.
For more information about MARTA and to view the State of MARTA address, please visit www.itsmarta.com.