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MARTA: No delay for Five Points overhaul

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(The Center Square) — Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority officials said they are advancing with a roughly $230 million Five Points Station upgrade despite concerns from some local officials and advocacy groups.

On Tuesday, as some gathered at the Five Points Station for a news conference to call for a halt to the project, the transit agency said delaying the projects “impacts MARTA’s ability to secure federal funding for current and future transit expansion projects.”

The agency is funding the project with $13.8 million from the state, a $25 million federal Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity — or RAISE — Grant and proceeds from the More MARTA Atlanta half-penny sales tax. Five Points serves as the transfer point between MARTA’s north-south and east-west rail lines.

“Delaying this work is irresponsible and does nothing to alleviate the service impacts necessary for such complex deconstruction work,” the agency said in a Tuesday statement. “The time to do this work is now, not years from now when we will be left with no choice and potentially forced to close the entire station without the benefit of detour planning and communications.

“We welcome all viewpoints for a project of this scope and pledge to continue listening and adjusting, when possible, but we remain committed to delivering this project that was approved by our partners at the City, by voters, and supported by the state and federal government,” the agency added.

According to reports, Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens sent a letter to MARTA General Manager and CEO Collie Greenwood, asking him to pause the station revamp until an audit of the More MARTA program is finished, a request MARTA has rejected.

“I echo the frustrations expressed by Atlantans today over the proposed Five Points redevelopment plan,” Dickens said in a statement. “In addition to the serious concerns about accessibility and the potential closure of the station for four years, preliminary findings show MARTA may owe the citizens of Atlanta $70 million—or more. I stand by my call to pause construction activity until we can reassess and determine a better path forward.”

On Tuesday, Skanska said it had inked a $29 million “initial contract” with MARTA to deconstruct the station’ canopy. The deconstruction is scheduled to wrap in 2026.

The 18-month-long deconstruction project is part of a larger four-year-long project.

While rail service will not be impacted by the project, street access to the station will be closed starting July 29. The project’s first phase includes razing the concrete canopy, and future phases include constructing a new canopy, establishing a centralized bus hub and reconnecting Broad Street to pedestrian traffic.

“Atlantans share the right to travel freely to schools, jobs, and essential services,” Propel ATL Executive Director Rebecca Serna said in a release this month. “That is why MARTA must maintain pedestrian, bus, and ADA access at Five Points Station, which is the hub of the entire system, for the duration of its redesign. Failing to do so will unnecessarily block people’s access to a service they depend on each day.”

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