Atlanta Mayor Dickens asks MARTA to hold off on Five Points Station renovation

ATLANTA — Despite a request from Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens to postpone renovation at the Five Points station, MARTA is moving ahead.

Mayor Dickens had asked Marta to hold off on the 230-million project until an audit could be completed. While the city says the transit agency owes at least 70-million-dollars to its expansion fund, Marta disagrees, saying they owe about $9 million dollars. Marta recently announced plans to reroute bus routes that connect to Five Points on July 6, and to close pedestrian access beginning July 29.

Mayor Dickens had asked MARTA to hold off on a major renovation of the Five Points rail station.

In a letter to MARTA’s CEO Collie Greenwood, Dickens said the preliminary findings from the audit “highlights several areas that require additional clarity and attention.”

In response, Greenwood issued the following statement obtained by 95.5 WSB to the mayor:

Dear Mayor Dickens:

Thank you for your letter regarding the preliminary findings of the More MARTA audit. As we have discussed, MARTA had previously identified the allocation of the half-penny tax revenue between bus service operations and capital projects as an area that requires routine reconciliation and adjustment between our operating account and the capital reserve. Our internal review suggests the amount due to be moved to the capital reserve is approximately $9 million. Without benefit of seeing the preliminary findings and relying on CFO Balla’s memo that the preliminary findings of the audit suggest a higher amount, the appropriate correction is simply an accounting function, not a reason to significantly alter the course of the More MARTA capital priorities that we have mutually agreed to advance. We look forward to a productive conversation on the breakdown between bus service and capital once the audit findings are complete and shared with all parties.

Regarding the Five Points Station Transformation, MARTA staff have worked hand in hand with your Administration to bring this project to life. After nine rounds of station design and discussion with you and your senior leadership team, including discussion about the need to restrict pedestrian access to Five Points at the plaza level during the deconstruction and demolition phases of the project, the project was approved by both the City of Atlanta and the MARTA Board of Directors. In the eleven months since the City of Atlanta approved the current design, MARTA has proceeded with all due haste to begin construction.

Five Points station is the heart of the MARTA rail system. Our investment in its future is a collaborative project between multiple funders, including capital funds from the MARTA one-penny sales tax provided across all jurisdictions, the More MARTA Atlanta half-penny sales tax, $13.8 million from the state of Georgia, and a $25 million federal RAISE Grant. Significant adjustments to the project at this point will undermine MARTA’s ability to apply for and receive future federal funding for this and other City of Atlanta capital projects. We have worked through all necessary agreements with our partners at the Federal Transit Administration/USDOT and have signed contractual obligations with multiple contractors. Successful execution of any and all public construction projects requires thoughtful planning on the front end, robust public engagement throughout the process and fortitude to advance the project to completion.

We share your concerns about the impact the plaza level closure will have on our riders. A construction project of this magnitude requires a safety-first approach that does everything possible to provide alternatives for our customers. Our approach must mitigate the known risks of this type of heavy construction. We believe our current mitigation plan is an appropriate solution, but we will continue to review for possible improvements. As I relayed during the May 29, 2024 briefing to the Atlanta City Council Transportation Committee, MARTA will re-open limited pedestrian access as soon as safely possible following the deconstruction and demolition phases. It is not our expectation that the plaza will be closed through 2028.

MARTA will continue to engage and evaluate all possibilities to address the mobility concerns caused by the temporary plaza closure. Our team stands ready to meet with you and your leadership team at your convenience to continue the discussion on our joint commitment to transforming the Five Points station.


Collie Greenwood

Renovation of the Five Points station in downtown Atlanta was supposed to start next month and would take up to four years to complete.

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