Georgia Regional Transportation Authority
The Georgia Regional Transportation Authority (GRTA) is the authority in the State of Georgia that works to improve mobility, air quality, and land use in the state. GRTA currently has authority over the greater Atlanta metropolitan area.
History of the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority
The GRTA was established by the Georgia Assembly in 1999. It was created in response to the rapid development of land that occurred in Atlanta during the 1990s. During that time green space was disappearing rapidly as land development increased at a rate about three times as fast as population growth. Eventually, federal funds for new highway construction were cut because the 13 counties in the Atlanta metropolitan area were not in line with the standards set by the Clean Air Act.
As a result Georgia was required to develop a plan to address the declining air quality in Atlanta before being allowed to build the majority of its road projects. Part of that plan included the creation of the GRTA. The ARC and GRTA then provided the federal government with a more detailed transportation plan, which was approved in July 2000. The plan acknowledged that transportation and other growth-related issues are best solved on a regional basis and as a result the GRTA was given broad power over local governments.
The GRTA is run by a 15 person Board of Directors and its daily operations are overseen by an executive director. The current executive director is Richard A. Anders and the current Chair of the Board is Sonny Deriso. Board meetings usually occur once a month.
GRTA has authority over all counties in Georgia that are classified as nonattainment under the federal Clean Air Act. Currently there are only 13 counties that are classified as such, all of which are all in the Atlanta metropolitan area. The counties are:
Any other counties in Georgia that become classified as nonattainment will also come under the purview of the GRTA.
The goal of the GRTA is to improve transportation, air quality, and land use throughout Georgia. In order to do this, GRTA is authorized to issue up to $1 billion in revenue bonds and $1 billion in general obligation bonds to local governments, though the latter must be approved by the General Assembly. Additionally, GRTA provides assistance to local governments for planning mass transit projects and other projects that are designed to reduce air pollution.
GRTA is also responsible for approving the use of state or federal funds for all major development projects such as subdivisions and commerce parks that may have an effect on transportation in the Atlanta region. Local governments may override a GRTA veto on the use of government transportation funds, but doing so requires a three-fourths supermajority.
Most mass transit systems in the Atlanta area are run by the individual counties, but GRTA runs the XPRESS Regional Commuter Service. This service provides transportation across the entire Atlanta metropolitan region and connects the various county public transit systems.
Contact the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority
Marquis One Tower
245 Peachtree Center Ave., NE
Atlanta, GA 30303-1223