Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) is a combination bus/train system that operates in Fulton County, DeKalb County, and the city of Atlanta. Although planners first discussed a rapid rail system in the 1950s, the project did not receive legislative and monetary support until the 1960s. Building on the existing Atlanta Transit bus system, the first rail line finally opened in 1979. Since that time the system has expanded to include a north/south line, an east/west line, and a feeder system of bus routes. Some lines actually run through granite and under buildings on Peachtree Street.
The system has had its share of problems. Cobb, Gwinnett, and Clayton Counties declined to participate in the MARTA system, preferring instead to fund their own systems. Many white Atlantans believed that MARTA would bring an influx of African Americans and crime into their neighborhoods. This fear contributed to “white-flight” from intown-Atlanta areas to outlying suburbs during the 1960s.
Today city planners hope that the MARTA system will continue to provide an alternative transportation method and to reduce congestion on Atlanta area roads.