Spinning our Wheels

Spinning our Wheels is a commuting blog about the challenges of getting around Atlanta by car, bus, MARTA, bicycles and on foot written by transportation reporter David Wickert

Transportation spending gets $7 billion boost

The long-term impact of sweeping legislation to fund transportation that was enacted earlier this year is starting to become more evident.

The 2014 version of the metro Atlanta region's future spending plan for road, bridge and transit system improvements called for about $79 billion in spending through the year 2040. But the outlook is far rosier today, thanks to the infusion of close to a billion more dollars per year from HB 170, the bill that raised the gas tax and imposed new fees on hotel motel stays, as well as electric vehicles and heavy trucks.

Now we can expect to see $86.1 billion in investment over the same time period, according to the most recent version of the Atlanta Regional Commission's Plan 2040.

And that doesn't include the added funds from HB 170, which ARC officials estimate will range between $10-15 billion over the 24-year period.

The $7 billion boost reflects an increase in transportation funds available from additional tax revenue from a stronger economy and from the additional income from the MARTA one-percent sales tax in Clayton County, said Jim Jaquish, a spokesman for the ARC.

Here's how the money in the new plan breaks down:

  • Construction of managed toll lanes (114 miles): $6.9 billion
  • Major roadway and intersection improvements: $9.8 billion
  • Potential transit expansion projects: $12 billion
  • Transit operations and maintenance: $30.7 billion
  • Road maintenance, operations and safety: $24.3 billion
  • Bicycle/Pedestrian facilities: $1.9 billion
  • Management of demand on the network (promoting carpooling, telecommuting and other commute alternatives): $0.5 billion

The plan is available for review online at www.atlantaregionsplan.com. Comments are being accepted through Jan. 15. The ARC board is expected to adopt The Atlanta Region’s Plan early next year, after public feedback is incorporated.

There are several ways to provide feedback on the plan: taking a survey,  submitting a comment, at a public hearing or at a Jan. 14 open house.

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