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Thursday, August 13, 2009 - 11:16am

$55 Million in Stimulus to MARTA

The U.S. Department of Transportation is giving Atlanta's public transportation system $55.4 million.

The money comes from the federal stimulus package.

The Metro Atlanta Rapid Transport Authority, known as MARTA, will use the money to buy 18 new buses and pay for maintenance and improvements to rail stations.

Earlier this year, the state legislature failed to allow MARTA to dip into its own reserves. The authority needed state approval to use its reserve funds for day-to-day operations, as MARTA saw revenue declines with the slowing economy.

MARTA was at the brink of cutting services when the Atlanta Regional Commission stepped in and gave $25 million in stimulus in May.

Federal officials say the new money creates jobs and will help build a sustainable economy.

Nationwide, $4.2 billion have been made available for transit improvements.