Atlanta looks into a transportation department, charging commuter fee

One city leader said it's time the city took on Atlanta's traffic and road issues.

Atlanta residents who loathe potholes may one day direct their complaints to a new city department.

The city recently released a report about creating an Atlanta transportation department. As it stands, the planning and public works departments, which handle things like trash pick-up and recycling, also deal with issues such as road construction and sidewalk repair.

City councilman Andre Dickens, chairman of Atlanta's transportation committee, said some transportation issues don’t get the attention they deserve.

"We need one head of transportation,” Dickens told Channel 2 Action News. “It's such a critical issue, and we're on our way to going there now.”

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Funding for the new department would come from removing transportation from public works, but taxpayers may also have to help with additional funding, Dickens said. Atlanta-DOT, which would handle issues such as street repaving, traffic signals, bike lanes and sidewalks, could be running within a year.

Dickens also floated the idea of charging a user fee for drivers who commute into the city.

“That's a little bit down the road, but I’ve seen it done in other cities. I mean, you cross a bridge in New York or San Francisco, you cross a jurisdiction line, they are going to charge you for it," Dickens told Channel 2.

The mayor's office, public works, and some residents are working with Dickens on the Atlanta DOT, the station reported.

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