The Livable Communities Coalition

Working to improve Atlanta's quality of life through smart growth

Draft list looms; region awaits transportation vision

Out of context, the numbers seem staggering.

$47 million.

$173 million.

$658 million.

$879 million.

On and on it goes.

However, within context of the expected transportation spending over the next 15, 25 or 30 years, $6.1 billion begins to sound like a bargain. The Atlanta Regional Commission recently reported that the region expects to spend $61 billion on road projects through 2040.

The politics of determing which projects will benefit from this relatively paltry sum of $6.1 billion have exacted a large toll on the elected officials and their staffs up to this point.

Thursday, the Atlanta Regional Roundtable executive committee postponed a vote on the draft list, opting to use the weekend to review the projects in more detail for the difficult task of project selection.

The Transportation Investment Act, as State Senator Doug Stoner reminded the roundtable Tuesday, intends to jump-start transportation projects that are regionally significant, mitigate traffic and promote economic development.

According to Ray Christman, Livable Communities Coalition executive director, the roundtable needs to fulfill the intent of the legislation by selecting special projects that promise special results. For the smart growth organization, which launched the Fair Share for Transit initiative in March, that means transit.

The organization’s own poll – as well as others – indicate residents in metro Atlanta want special projects and likewise believe that those projects should be transit projects.

Until Monday, when the roundtable executive committee must deliver its draft list, no one can be certain whether the intent of the legislation and the reams of data will sway the executive committee members and, later, the full roundtable. It all depends on politics.

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