A bus is shown, pictured from the front, driving out of a driveway with a red brick building behind it.

Athens-Clarke County Transit plans to create a bus link to Metro Atlanta's MARTA system using part of its grant from Georgia's new Transit Trust Fund.

Credit: Athens-Clarke County Tranist via Facebook

Georgia public transit systems are getting about $27 million as part of the state’s new Transit Trust Fund.

That’s according to figures provided by the Georgia Department of Transportation.

Approved by state lawmakers in 2021, the fund is the first-ever dedicated, annual state funding source for public transit in Georgia.

The awards went to transit systems both inside the 13-county Metro Atlanta region and in more rural areas, but in separate funding streams.

GDOT spokeswoman Natalie Dale said 51 rural transit systems received awards in the fund’s first fiscal year, which ended last week.

“Sometimes these are the only ways that people who live in these communities have to get where they’re going,” Dale said. “They’re really vital to the quality of life in these small rural communities.”

The awards have to be spent on new services, instead of ongoing operations.

So, among other projects, Athens-Clark County plans to use its Transit Trust Fund money to create a new bus link to Metro Atlanta’s MARTA system.

The two largest rural awards, both totaling more than $800,000, went to the Coastal Georgia Regional Commission, serving eight counties, and the Southern Georgia Regional Commission, serving 14 counties.

Inside Metro Atlanta, $13 million was split between MARTA and ATL Transit, which operates Xpress buses and coordinates regional transit planning and funding.

“We requested funds for airport station renovations, Five Points station platform renovation as well as for a MARTA K-9 facility for police dogs,” said MARTA’s government and community affairs director Colleen Kiernan.

The Transit Trust Fund is one of nine trust funds that were created after Georgia voters in 2020 passed a constitutional amendment requiring all revenues that the state’s dedicated trust funds collect to remain inside those programs rather than be diverted into the general budget.

The fund generates revenue from a per-ride tax on ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft.


An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that metro Atlanta county public transit systems, including MARTA, will not receive money from the Transit Trust Fund.