GDOT Kicks Off Statewide Rail Plan Update

April 4, 2014


The Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) has begun a major update of the Statewide Rail Plan. This document, last updated in 2009, outlines long-range rail planning priorities in Georgia and  provides comprehensive data about the railroad industry within the state. The plan will enable GDOT to implement a more efficient and effective approach to integrate passenger and freight rail elements into the larger multi-modal transportation framework. It will cover the time period from the present to the year 2040 to better integrate with the Georgia Statewide Transportation Plan (SWTP) and Statewide Strategic Transportation Plan (SSTP).

The Department will conduct extensive outreach to the state’s railroads, shippers, ports, transit agencies, public sector transportation planners, neighboring states’ transportation officials, and the general public. This outreach will help the Department identify potential administrative and regulatory improvements to enhance rail-related economic development benefits to the state. Public input will also be fundamental in establishing the state rail vision and guiding goals, objectives and the proposed projects necessary to realize the established vision and goals.

The first round of public outreach begins in April, with meetings scheduled across the state. A public meeting in Atlanta is scheduled for April 16th at Atlanta Regional Commission Headquarters (40 Courtland Street, Atlanta GA 30303) from 5:00PM to 7:00PM. A formal presentation will begin at 5:30, while staff will be on hand to answer questions and gather feedback. For more information and contact information, please visit GDOT’s State Rail Plan webpage.


Public Information Open House Meetings Scheduled for I-85 HOT Lanes Expansion

March 19, 2013


The Georgia Department of Transportation is seeking public input into the planning process for the I-85 Express Lanes Project. This proposed project would result in the construction of two new lanes (one in each direction) along I-85 in Gwinnett County from Old Peachtree Road to Hamilton Mill Road, expanding the existing high occupancy toll (HOT) lane system by about ten miles.  The purpose of this new managed lane project is to leverage variable rate travel pricing to provide transit, freight and automobile commuters with a more reliable, free-flowing commute option.

The following public information open house meetings have been scheduled to discuss the project:

March 21, 2013

4:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Gwinnett Center – Atrium Gallery
(Lower level)

March 28, 2013

4:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Braselton Police and Municipal Court Building – Community Room
(Enter from rear of the building)

For more information about the project, visit

DOT Announces Proposal to Establish National Freight Network

February 18, 2013


U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood recently announced the establishment of a National Freight Advisory Committee to provide recommendations aimed at improving the national freight transportation system. A strong freight transportation system is critical to the nation’s economy and essential for helping meet President Obama’s goal of doubling U.S. exports by 2015.

“Our freight system is the lifeblood of the American economy,” said Secretary LaHood. “We must ensure that our freight system is stronger and better connected.”

The recent transportation bill, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century, or MAP-21, signed by President Obama in July 2012, established a national freight policy and called for the creation of a National Freight Strategic Plan. By engaging stakeholders representing diverse geographic, modal, and policy interests, such as safety, labor and the environment, the Advisory Committee will provide recommendations to the Secretary of Transportation on how DOT can improve its freight transportation policies and programs. The U.S. Department of Transportation is soliciting nominations for members of the National Freight Advisory Committee. Instructions on how to submit nominations will be available in the Federal Register notice which will publish in the coming days.

The collaboration of stakeholders will serve to promote involvement and compliance with proposed plans and performance measures. The effort will support the implementation of larger freight policy initiatives, including the Department’s Freight Policy Council, an internal body of DOT leadership created by Secretary LaHood to facilitate cross-modal implementation of MAP-21 freight provisions. The Advisory Committee will comprise at least 25 voting members from outside of DOT who have various perspectives on freight transportation, including mode, region, policy areas, freight customers and providers, and government entities, and will meet at least three times per year.

DOT also proposed the process through which the DOT will designate a national freight network to better focus attention on the highways most critical to the movement of goods. The Secretary will designate the most critical existing interstates and roads as the primary freight network. This network will consist of up to 27,000 miles of existing interstate and other roadways. It will also include the possible addition of 3,000 miles of existing and planned roadways necessary for the efficient movement of goods in the future.

A comprehensive system is required to meet the growing freight volumes. The Department is requesting comments on the proposed freight network designation process. Instructions on how to submit comments are available in the Federal Register notice available here.

Preliminary TIP Project Solicitation Recommendations Published

October 31, 2012

The Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) and the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) recently announced initial recommendations resulting from a six‐month project solicitation process to fund locally identified priorities under three transportation funding programs set aside in the 2012-2017 TIP.  The projects to be funded by these programs will address a wide array of mobility, safety and access issues encountered by motorists, pedestrians, freight distributors, bicyclists and transit users around the region.

The three programs are listed below, with links to each program’s fact sheet:

Once finalized, recommended projects will be added to the TIP in December 2012. A report of these preliminary recommendations, which draw projects directly from counties, cities and CIDs across the Atlanta region, may be found here. Visit the TIP project solicitation page for more information.

GDOT Statewide Freight & Logistics Plan Wins National Award

July 24, 2012

The Transportation Planning Excellence Awards Program is a biennial awards program developed by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and co-sponsored by the American Planning Association and the Transportation Research Board. The program provides a unique opportunity to recognize and celebrate the outstanding transportation planning practices performed by planners and decisionmakers in communities across the country.

During the 2012 TPEA program, the Georgia Department of Transportation was recognized for it’s Statewide Freight and Logistics Plan. In close collaboration with Governor Nathan Deal’s office, the Department of Economic Development’s Center of Innovation for Logistics and Cambridge Systematics, Inc., Georgia DOT developed a framework to continue growing the state’s $50 billion per year (in sales) freight industry. Investing $18-$20 billion in logistics improvement projects over the next 40 years will yield the state thousands more jobs and more than $65 billion in new economic output, the study found.

The FHWA lauded the inclusion of private industry input in the planning process via an advisory committee of executive leaders of The Home Depot, Delta Airlines, Georgia Pacific, Coca-Cola, CSX, Norfolk Southern, the Coastal Logistics Group, Southern Freight Inc., the Georgia Ports Authority and Georgia’s Motor Trucking Association.

Hartsfield-Jackson Remains Number One Airport

April 24, 2012

According to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport’s Website:

For the 14th consecutive year, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport has earned the title of world’s busiest airport.  Preliminary data indicate that passenger traffic increased by more than 3.5 percent from 2010 to 2011, making 2011 the busiest year ever for the Airport.  The 2011 total of 92.39 million passengers is 2.6 percent higher than the previous record of 90 million passengers, set in 2008.

“We’re growing faster than the North American average, which is no easy feat during these tough economic times,” Aviation General Manager Louis Miller said.  “With the opening of the international terminal this spring, we’re looking forward to continued growth this year and beyond.”

To view the full traffic report, go to

ARC Releases Economic Analysis of Transportation Referendum Impacts

January 26, 2012

(ATLANTA – January 26, 2012)  Voters in the Atlanta region have the opportunity to pass a referendum on July 31, 2012 that would raise $8.5 billion through a one percent sales tax to fund transportation projects across the region.  Based on the list of priority transportation improvements developed by a Regional Transportation Roundtable of local officials, the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) and a team of economists have completed an initial analysis and forecast of the economic impacts of the 2012 Regional Transportation Referendum’s passage and build-out.

Economic benefits accrued through 2040 include the following, if the referendum passes*:

  • 4 to 1 return on investment – The $8.5 billion investment in 157 projects will result in a $34.8 billion* increase in gross regional product in the Atlanta region by 2040.
  • 200,000 additional jobs supported – The analysis indicates that the transportation investment will create or support an additional 200,000 job years**, including jobs that are maintained year-over-year.  Almost two-thirds of those jobs will be in mid-to-high paying job sectors.  The construction sector was hardest hit by the recession.  The referendum would lead to the creation and support of 34,000 jobs in this critical sector by 2040.
  • $18 billion in travel time savings – The average metro Atlanta commuter spends $924 each year sitting in traffic. Collectively, these projects would allow residents to save $9.2 billion* by 2040.
  • $18 billion increase in personal income – Due to the travel time savings and reduced fuel costs, incomes around the region will increase a collective $18 billion by 2040.

“After several months of in-depth computer modeling and analysis and with input from regional policy experts and economists, we believe that these numbers represent a conservative estimate of the positive impacts these projects would have on the region’s economy,” said Tad Leithead, ARC Chairman.  “The referendum project list is regional in nature, but has something for everyone in metro Atlanta.  By making these improvements in the next 10 years, rather than 20 or 30 years from now, these projects can be built cheaper, can improve transportation more quickly and have a positive economic impact sooner.”

Why More Funding?

Over the last several decades, metro Atlanta has been one of the fastest-growing regions in the country.  The region’s population has increased from three million in 1990 to five million in 2010, and ARC predicts that it will grow to more than eight million by 2040.

Meanwhile, the region has experienced a funding shortfall at the state and federal levels as fuel efficiency and less driving has sent gas tax revenues on a downward trend.  Since 1980, the average fuel efficiency of a passenger car sold in America has increased by almost 40 percent, going from 24.3 MPG to 33.8 MPG.***

Because of this, 70 percent of the region’s scheduled transportation funding for the next 30 years will be spent on simply maintaining the existing network, leaving little room for expansion.  As the region continues to grow, congestion will get worse, costing metro Atlantans more time and money spent in their cars.

“As the federally-designated transportation planning agency for the Atlanta region, our job is to accurately calculate the economic benefits of targeted transportation improvements,” said Leithead.  “The voters will ultimately make the decision regarding the referendum that they believe is best for the region.”

*These dollar amounts are stated in 2011 dollars.

**The term “job years” is a comprehensive measurement of the real supported employment created by the Transportation Referendum.  Modeling results include reoccurring jobs – those jobs that last more than one year. Using job years prevents double counting and accurately reflects the true economic value of the employment represented by the job. For further explanation of job years, contact Jim Jaquish at 404-463-3194.

*** Research and Innovative Technology Administration