6:00 am
Tue January 14, 2014

ARC Proposes $59B Plan To Ease Metro Atlanta Traffic

Credit Federal Highway Administration

  The Atlanta Regional Commission updated its long-term plan for relieving congestion in the metro area, and it includes about $59 billion worth of maintenance and expansion projects to be funded through 2040.

As heard on the radio

About $41.5 billion – or 71 percent of the funding – will go toward maintaining current infrastructure, like roads, bridges and tunnels, through the year 2040. Just over a quarter of that money – or about $15 billion – will go toward new projects to help alleviate congestion, like roadway widening, managed lanes and reconstructed interchanges, as well transit alternatives to cars.  Another $1.4 billion is aimed at bicycling and pedestrian improvements.

  “That sounds like an enormous number,” said David Haynes, a senior planner with the Atlanta Regional Commission.  “But when you average that out over a 25 year horizon, it’s really not keeping pace where need to be.”

The plan is updated at least every four years based on population growth and funding projections, and has to be constrained to known revenue sources.

  Haynes says the update was needed after recent federal funding cuts and the 2012 failure of a transportation plan that would have provided $7 billion for transit projects over 10 years.

He says the nearly $59 billion price tag is still not enough to keep up with a metro area that’s expected to add 3 million people and 1.3 million jobs by 2040.

“We still need to have this conversation about how do we bring additional money to the table so that we can keep pace with some of the other regions in the country,” Haynes said.

The commission plans to vote on the plan in March.