As The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has reported, a new government agency will finalize a regional transit plan for metro Atlanta this month. But it’s not the only plan to tackle some of the world’s worst traffic.
The Atlanta Regional Commission is seeking public comment on its $173 billion plan to address traffic problems.
The plan is a blueprint for road, transit and other transportation projects through 2050. About 60 percent of the spending would upgrade existing infrastructure – work like resurfacing roads, replacing aging buses and installing high-tech traffic signals that would communicate with vehicles.
The plan includes MARTA’s $2.7 billion plan to expand transit in Atlanta, plus new bus rapid transit lines in Gwinnett, Cobb and Clayton counties. It also includes major road projects like the reconstruction of I-285 interchanges at I-20 east and west of Atlanta, a new I-85 interchange at McGinnis Ferry Road in Gwinnett and a rebuilt I-20 interchange at Ga. 20 in Rockdale County.
And it includes nearly $10 billion to help change how and when people get to work – by expanding bicycle and pedestrian paths and encouraging the use of carpooling, transit and telework.
Many projects in the long-range plan – like transit expansions in Gwinnett and Cobb – lack specific funding. But the plan itself is a prerequisite for the federal funding needed for most major road and transit projects.
Even if the money for all the projects comes through, don’t expect a miraculous improvement in the region’s traffic. Metro Atlanta is expected to add another three million residents by 2050, challenging the region just to keep up with the growth. As the ARC’s Paul Donsky put it in a recent blog post summarizing the plan:
“The funds, as substantial as they are, won’t ‘fix’ the region’s traffic issues. Every region with a thriving economy wrestles with traffic.”
You can learn more about the plan and offer comments at the ARC’s web site. The agency will accept comments through Dec. 13 and plans to adopt a final plan in February.
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