Jeffrey Parker Urges $100B Investment in Mobility/Technology at State of MARTA
Monday, January 14th, 2019
General Manager and CEO Jeffrey Parker shared a bold vision for transit at the 6th Annual State of MARTA Breakfast before a sold-out crowd of community, business, and civic leaders.
During the event, which heralds the transit agency’s four decades of combined bus and rail service, Parker declared the state of MARTA is healthy, financially stable and ready for expansion. Recognizing that service drives ridership, he promised a renewed commitment to world-class customer service and expanding MARTA as a catalyst for economic growth, innovative approaches to mobility, and community revitalization.
In Parker’s first State of MARTA address, he challenged the crowd to rally behind a $100 billion investment in transit and technology over the next 40 years, rivaling the long-term capital plans unfolding in peer cities such as Los Angeles, Seattle, and Washington, D.C.
Parker said we need a “moonshot for transit,” to ensure metro Atlanta’s growth as a world-class region.
“The greater Atlanta region is projected to grow in population by 50 percent over the next 30 years. That’s essentially adding Denver’s current population to the metro region,” said Parker. “We have to make bold decisions now that include a landmark investment in our transit network to fund innovative solutions for our traffic woes and renew our commitment to future generations.”
In addition, Parker announced several initiatives MARTA is undertaking, including:
Establishing a new Rider Advisory Council to provide customers with a formal voice to make meaningful improvements to the transit system.
Hiring a Chief Customer Experience Officer that represents the customer internally and influences what we do and how we do it.
Launching a multi-year initiative to enhance and overhaul all 38 MARTA stations through a comprehensive renovation and enhancement program.
Ensuring innovative and integrated transit-oriented development at stations that support jurisdictional priorities around economic development, workforce housing, community engagement.
Implementing a comprehensive training strategy for frontline employees and management to improve customer service.
Creating a Station Manager career track for frontline employees who deal directly with customers.
Recently appointed MARTA Board Chair Freda Hardage also reflected on MARTA’s years of service and the need for continued regional collaboration among metro Atlanta’s leaders to keep the nation’s ninth largest transit system on track.
“It really takes our employees, business leaders, elected officials and our riders coming together to help make MARTA stronger,” said Hardage. “My predecessor Robbie Ashe did a yeoman’s job leading MARTA’s Board of Directors while working closely with all of our stakeholders and leadership across the state to advance regional mobility and accessibility. Today, we renewed our commitment to build upon that same dynamic zeal as we look to the next 40 years for MARTA.”
The event was co-hosted by the Council for Quality Growth, a not-for-profit trade association that works to ensure the metro Atlanta region’s regulatory environment supports quality growth and development.