Atlanta board approves $11 billion for transit over the next 30 years

Written by Bill Wilson, Editor-in-Chief
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The Atlanta Regional Commission Board has approved a plan that will fund $11 billion toward light rail transit projects.

The city of Atlanta is getting ambitious with its transportation planning, but so is traffic congestion when it comes to covering the area.

The region is expected to add 2.9 million residents by 2050. To answer that call, the Atlanta Regional Commission Board has approved a $173 billion, 30-year plan that includes the construction of new transit lines. Money also will be used on smaller projects. Overall the strategy covers 20 metro Atlanta counties and includes 450 projects.

However, officials say even if every congestion-relieving project is completed under the plan, the Atlanta metro area will still be clogged from a commuter transit perspective. The Atlanta Regional Commission says the average speed of commuters during rush hour traffic will drop to 45 mph.

The 30-year plan is targeting areas that need immediate relief, and on the project list is a MARTA expansion project, the Clifton Corridor project and improvements on sections of the Atlanta Beltline. Another key project is a planned commuter line to Clayton County. In total, $11 billion of the $173 billion is expected to be used for light rail initiatives.

Approximately 60 percent of the plan will improve existing infrastructure.

As far as coming up with the funding sources for the endeavor, officials are hoping $50 billion will come from motor vehicle excise taxes, lodging fees and other sources, and another $45.5 billion will come from the federal government in the form of a match. Local governments and districts will cover the rest.

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