- The Atlanta-Region Transit Link Authority (ATL) has adopted a $27.4 billion regional plan, making it possible for the authority's transit projects to be considered for federal and state funding through the Atlanta Regional Commission's (ARC) long- and short-range programs. The ARC recently proposed almost $173 billion of projects during the next 30 years to improve mobility in Atlanta and surrounding counties.
- The 2019 ATL Regional Transit Plan's project submissions include $21.1 billion for Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority enhancements and expansions; $738,000 for ATL Rides rider information system; and approximately $6.3 billion for bus service in Cobb, Douglas, Gwinnett and other Atlanta metro counties. The ATL board selects and recommends projects from the list to the state for potential state bond funding each year.
- Local government agencies, transit operators, community improvement districts and other sponsors representing 10 ATL districts submitted a total of 192 projects to ATL for inclusion in the 2019 transit plan. The 20-year program includes capital projects, operations and maintenance.
The ATL's 10 districts encompass 13 metro Atlanta counties, and the agency was charged by the Georgia General Assembly in 2018 with regularly developing six- and 20-year regional transit plans that incorporate existing and future transit facilities and services.
This is the ATL's inaugural plan. Only projects that already assume federal or state discretionary funding are included in the six- and 20-year plans. More than $14 billion of projects are designated as 20-year, while $1.8 billion are designated as six-year.
Earlier this month, the ARC presented its $173 billion regional planning document to the public for comments. That period ended Dec. 13, and the ARC will evaluate them before making its final decision about which projects the agency will ultimately pursue. The proposed projects include adding 600 lane miles of capacity to the region's roadways, light-rail improvements, infrastructure maintenance and repair, expansion of bike trails and the implementation of other programs to help commuters and travelers navigate the Atlanta metro area amid current and future population growth.
Establishing the ATL, which will coordinate public transportation agencies in the metro area, was one of the major transit-based challenges that ARC identified as critical.
Another is preparing the area for autonomous and connected vehicles. ARC wrote that in order for the Atlanta area to roll out this new technology successfully, the region will have to be outfitted with sensors in roads, “smart” traffic signals and data-capable, secure IT systems.
Freight traffic coming into metro Atlanta is expected to increase 76% between 2013 and 2040, presenting another challenge for the region's infrastructure, as much of the cargo that comes into the Port of Savannah in Georgia ends up in or moves through the Atlanta area. ARC has included many freight traffic-related projects in its 2020 plan.