Metropolitan Atlanta's Rapid Transit System:

Problems and Progress

PSAD-80-34: Published: Apr 9, 1980. Publicly Released: Apr 9, 1980.

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A review was made of the status of development and performance of Metropolitan Atlanta's rapid transit system and the problems being encountered.

Although the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) has been successful in completing project milestones close to its plan, management weaknesses and trade-offs have contributed to increased costs of $50 million over the initial estimate for one segment and delays in construction because contracts were awarded before rights-of-way were acquired and the design completed. Ineffective administration of the railcar contract has resulted in late delivery of cars, with cars currently being accepted 8 months behind schedule even though MARTA continues to make progress payments as if they were on schedule. Other problems include: replacement housing costing more than originally estimated, an inadequate warranty program, and authorizations which do not include restrictions and incentives for complete development or limit Government participation in cost overruns. In some instances, more thorough Urban Mass Transportation Administration (UMTA) review and guidance could have eliminated, or at least lessened, the management weaknesses of MARTA. However, MARTA has also demonstrated a commitment to effective management by establishing an independent internal audit function which UMTA should require other local transit authorities to adopt.

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