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Updated regional transportation plan calls for billions

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(The Center Square) — The board of the Atlanta Regional Commission has approved an updated Atlanta Metropolitan Transportation Plan, which calls for spending billions of dollars to improve transportation in the region over the next quarter of a century.

The new plan calls for $168.3 billion in spending — relying on a mix of private dollars and federal, state and local taxpayer funding — through 2050 to improve transportation and safety throughout the 20-county region.

The move comes as ARC predicts the Atlanta region will add 1.8 million people by 2050, bringing its population to 7.9 million.

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

The plan anticipates $171 billion of revenue, a total that includes “a small buffer to accommodate unexpected cost increases and potential additional projects which need to be added to the plan in advance of the next scheduled major update,” according to the executive summary.

The amount includes $73.8 billion in local taxpayer money, $52.6 billion in state taxpayer funds and $43.7 billion in federal taxpayer spending. Private money will cover the remaining $1.2 billion.

The spending plan includes $105.5 billion for maintenance and modernization projects and more than $35.1 billion for major system expansions, including $9.7 billion for transit expansion.

“While support for public transit is very strong, particularly in the region’s core counties, the percentage of residents expressing willingness to pay more in taxes to fund expansion of regional public transit is mixed,” according to the executive summary.