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The Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority's (MARTA) board last week approved the agency's operating and capital budgets for fiscal-year 2023.
The $1.3 billion combined budget includes $587.6 million in operating funds and $717 million for capital programming, MARTA officials said in a press release. FY2023 will be the 11th year that the transit agency has not raised fares.
MARTA ridership has been increasing with rising gas prices, agency officials said. MARTA is exploring other potential ways to increase ridership, including an on-demand transit pilot program to connect riders in underserved areas to MARTA.
However, MARTA is struggling to maintain enough workers to serve the increasing ridership, said Collie Greenwood, interim general manager and CEO.
"We are aggressively recruiting employees, holding frequent job fairs and offering signing bonuses in order to stay competitive. As people return to MARTA, we must be able to meet the service demand," Greenwood said.
The capital improvement program, which includes state-of-good-repair projects, focuses on ongoing track replacement to improve safety and reduce delays due to aging equipment. More than $70 million is now dedicated to the Station Rehabilitation Program, with the Five Points and Bankhead stations slated for train platform renovation and extensions, respectively.
Additionally, nearly $40 million is budgeted to procure new rail cars. The new interior and exterior designs debuted in January. Overall, MARTA is investing $600 million to replace and upgrade its existing fleet, of which the first rail-car set is expected to arrive in 2025.