Board approves $173 billion metro Atlanta road and transit plan - AJC

Metro Atlanta would spend nearly $173 billion over the next 30 years to address traffic and transportation problems under a plan the Atlanta Regional Commission Board approved Wednesday.

The commission’s plan calls for major highway expansion projects such as toll lanes on the top half of the Perimeter. It includes new transit lines such as commuter rail to Clayton County, the Clifton Corridor light rail line in Atlanta and a bus rapid transit line along I-85 in Gwinnett County. And billions of dollars would fund smaller initiatives, such as new bike paths and programs to encourage carpooling.

Despite those efforts, traffic is still expected to get worse in coming decades as the region adds nearly 3 million residents — a population the size of metropolitan Denver. But the plan’s advocates say it will address key traffic bottlenecks and help metro Atlanta keep up with a booming population.

“Rapid growth is still probably the primary challenge we face,” said John Orr, who manages the ARC’s transportation access and mobility division. “It’s going to be a constant challenge to do the best we can.”

The commission’s transportation plan covers 20 metro Atlanta counties. It includes about 450 projects designed to move people and a goods more efficiently across a region known for horrible traffic and the occasional highway disaster.

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