ATLANTA – The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) is awarding a $13 million grant to help build a new bus operations and maintenance center in Clayton County, MARTA officials announced Wednesday.

The $116 million facility will include a MARTA police precinct, training area, operations and administration offices, and enough maintenance capacity to service more than 250 buses and 50 paratransit vehicles.

“We recognized the need for this project several years ago and have been steadily advancing it since,” MARTA General Manager and CEO Jeffrey Parker said. “We are grateful to the FTA for validating its importance and are already working on real estate acquisition and design concepts.”

The facility will be built in northern Clayton County, a location that will significantly reduce what are known as “deadhead” costs, or the distance a bus travels without customers.

The project will feature energy-efficient design elements including rainwater/rinse water recycling for the bus wash and a solar canopy. Close proximity to electric infrastructure will allow the facility to accommodate a potential future all-electric bus fleet.

Clayton County voters approved a referendum in 2014 making Clayton the first county to join the MARTA system since the transit agency’s inception in the late 1970s. While MARTA has operated buses in Clayton since early 2015, the transit agency also is working to eventually bring rail service into the county as well.

Clayton County Commission Chairman Jeff Turner said the bus center will bring 650 jobs to the Forest Park area.

“The overwhelming majority of Clayton County voters who supported MARTA did so with the understanding that jobs and economic development were part of the equation,” he said.

The project is due to be completed in 2026.