Atlanta

Budget for these metro Atlanta transportation projects through 2050 upgraded to nearly $170 billion

ATLANTA — The Atlanta Metropolitan Transportation Plan (MTP) is getting a big update to its future, according to an announcement from the Atlanta Regional Commission Board.

The announcement said going forward, the MTP will use $168 billion from federal, state and local funding to improve transportation across the 20-county metro area through 2050.

According to ARC, the updated MTP was drafted in response to a forecast that the Atlanta region will have almost two million new residents by 2050, bringing the overall population to 7.9 million people.

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The long-range plan, according to ARC, includes investments that will improve local roads and highways, enhance transit options, expand the area’s options for bike and pedestrian trails, plus encourage other commuting options like carpooling and teleworking, more popularly known as work-from-home.

“The Atlanta Metropolitan Transportation Plan is a bold blueprint that will keep our region moving forward in the decades to come,” ARC Board Chair Andre Dickens, who also serves as Mayor of the City of Atlanta, said in a statement. “These investments will help improve quality of life and ensure that our economy remains strong.”

In the announcement from ARC, officials provided a breakdown of different projects they expect to begin over the next 10 years.

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The plan will use $10 billion for transit expansion, across the following projects:

  • Campbellton Road bus rapid transit, from Oakland City MARTA station to Greenbriar Mall.
  • Clayton Southlake bus rapid transit, from College Park MARTA station to Southlake Mall.
  • Atlanta Streetcar East Extension, from Jackson Street to Atlanta BeltLine/Ponce City Market.
  • Buford Highway Arterial Rapid Transit, from Lindbergh MARTA station to Doraville MARTA station.
  • Candler Road Arterial Rapid Transit, from Avondale MARTA station to GSU Perimeter College

Separately, in a bid to improve thoroughfare and interchange safety in the region, ARC said they have $13.8 billion earmarked in the MTP for highway improvements through 2050 in the following locations:

  • Managed express lanes on the top-end Perimeter, I-285 East, and I-285 West
  • Interchange reconstruction – I-285 West at I-20 in Fulton County
  • Interchange reconstruction – I-285 East at I-20 in DeKalb County
  • New interchange at I-85 North and McGinnis Ferry Road in Gwinnett County
  • Interchange reconstruction – I-20 East at SR 20/138 in Rockdale County

Another $8.1 billion will be used for adding roughly 600 lane-miles to the Atlanta metro area’s “arterial network” by 2050. Expansions expected to start over the next 10 years include:

  • Piedmont Road widening from Lenox Road to Peachtree Road in the City of Atlanta
  • Tara Boulevard widening from Tara Road to SR 54 (Fayetteville Road) in Clayton County
  • Panola Road widening from US 278 (Covington Highway) to Snapfinger Woods Drive in DeKalb County
  • Sugarloaf Parkway extension from I-85 to Peachtree Industrial Boulevard in Gwinnett County
  • South Barrett Parkway reliever from Barrett Lakes Blvd. to SR 5 connector in Cobb County

The MTP will also be using $3.9 billion for building bike and pedestrian projects in the next four years, including:

  • Southwest and northeastern portions of the Atlanta BeltLine
  • PATH 400 multi-use trail along Ga. 400 in North Fulton County
  • Chattahoochee River Greenway Trail in Douglas County
  • Rockdale River Trail extension in Rockdale County
  • Separated bike-ped lanes on the 10th bridge over the Downtown Connector in the City of Atlanta
  • Chattahoochee RiverLands Trail pilot segment in Cobb County, part of the planned regional Chattahoochee RiverLands project.

The bulk of the billions set for the MTP, about $105.5 billion, will be used for maintenance, modernization and operation of current transport infrastructure. ARC said those projects include resurfacing roads, repairing bridges and replacing aging buses and rail cars. ARC said that was roughly 63% of the overall budget.

The final portion of the funding will be dedicated to reducing congestion and encouraging different ways to travel around the Atlanta metro, according to ARC. $5.8 billion will be used for funding initiatives like the Georgia Commute Options program.

However, the updated plan still needs approval from the U.S. Department of Transportation in order to proceed. USDOT has to certify that the plan will meet all federal metropolitan planning requirements, which could take up to 30 days for approval, once all of the relevant documents are submitted by ARC.

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