Meeting set for plan on growth, transportation

Photo by Jay Jones

Photo by Jay Jones

CONYERS -- Residents from Rockdale County and nearby communities will have the chance weigh in on the region's 30-year plan for land development and transportation needs with a planned town hall meeting here next month.

The Civic League for Regional Atlanta, along with the Atlanta Regional Commission, will hold one of five town hall meetings to give the public a final opportunity to comment on PLAN 2040 for the 18 metro Atlanta counties, including Rockdale and Newton.

The meeting is scheduled for 6:45 to 9 p.m., Tuesday, March 22, in the community room of the J.P. Carr Administration Building at 981 Taylor St. in Conyers.

PLAN 2040 is a state- and federal-mandated blueprint for land development and transportation needs that will guide growth in 18 metro Atlanta counties.

ARC Director Charles "Chick" Krautler said PLAN 2040 is the first time in a decade that regional planners can tie three major components -- land use, protection of important resources and transportation -- in one document that will become the guide for growth in the next 30 years.

"The development plan was due at a different time than the transportation plan, so for the last 10 years we've been doing these plans independent of one another," he said. "This is a great opportunity to look at what the big issues are related to growth and development."

Population projections show the Atlanta area will add roughly 3.2 million new residents with big shifts in race and ethnicity and dramatic increases in the population of children and those over age 65.

Also, the ARC expects the area to add 1.8 million new jobs centralized in the city of Atlanta and northern suburban counties. Krautler explained PLAN 2040 is meant to come up with a way to accommodate the new residents.

Getting everybody from one point to the other is a major concern from the feedback the ARC has heard so far, Krautler said.

"Transportation seems to be what people like to focus on, like 'Is my road going to be improved?' 'How is it going to affect my commute?'" he said. "All of those issues they can really look at and say this is going to affect me positively or negatively."

Talk of increased traffic in Atlanta leads into the 2012 referendum on transportation investment that, if approved by voters, will create regional sales tax districts where a 1 percent sales tax on retail items would fund transportation projects.

Krautler said work is continuing to come up with a list of road projects that will be a part of PLAN 2040 and part of the referendum next year.

"We will have just completed the big plan to show what we can do with the money we have available to us, then come back later this year and say here's what we can do in addition if we had this extra money," he said.

For more information on PLAN 2040, visit www.atlantaregional.com/transportation/plan-2040.