We want Atlanta streets to be safe, inclusive, and thriving spaces for everyone who rides, walks, rolls, or uses public transit. The Atlanta Department of Transportation (ATLDOT) is essential to making that vision a reality. Since the agency's inception, its operating budget has increased marginally each year but remains significantly less than that of Oakland, CA which established its DOT in 2017, just two years before Atlanta's. Oakland's budget is $184 per capita while Atlanta's is $118 per capita. This fiscal year, the general fund is budgeted to increase 4.8%, yet the draft FY2024 budget shows a 12.5% DECREASE in funding for the Atlanta Department of Transportation. This is a problem, but we can make a significant change during Atlanta's budgeting process.
In 2017 we campaigned for the City to create a standalone Department of Transportation, combining transportation responsibilities held by various departments into a single department. We believe this would result in a clearer vision for the city's mobility future and help transportation projects get built more efficiently. Then-Councilmember, now Mayor Andre Dickens initiated a feasibility study and set up a working group, which included Propel ATL (then the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition.) This work led to the ATLDOT being established in November of 2019.
The current operating budget limits the department's ability to accomplish its goals, including Vision Zero, the goal of eliminating traffic fatalities. It cannot deliver the hundreds of promised new and overdue projects from major complete street projects to traffic calming, and routinely maintain infrastructure, including bike and light individual transportation (LIT) lanes without more people, supplies, and equipment.
Joseph E Boone Blvd bike/LIT lane installed following the death of a child killed while biking by a driver. Photo: Propel ATL
In 2022, voters approved significant project funding with Moving Atlanta Forward, which allocates $460.2 Million for transportation infrastructure. This brought the number of projects under the agency's purview to over 200, but the number of agency staff has failed to keep pace. While no official org chart is available, agency comments during Atlanta City Council meetings indicate there are around 5 project managers on staff. This is not enough people to manage and deliver ~220 projects.
Slides: May 10, 2023 presentation from ATLDOT to Atlanta City Council Transportation Committee
A look at the general fund in the draft FY 2024 budget summary shows a 4.8% increase over the previous year, and the press release celebrated the proposed $790 million General Fund budget as the largest in the City’s history. Yet the same budget includes a 12.5% decrease in for the Atlanta Department of Transportation. This would be a step in the wrong direction.
You can help! By speaking up, we can expand the City's capacity to build and maintain transportation infrastructure. Share why this issue matters to you and what mobility improvements you want for your community:
Fund the Atlanta Department of Transportation (ATLDOT) at $75 Million operating budget in the coming fiscal year, to ensure the agency can deliver on its promised infrastructure projects, make streets safer for all Atlantans and eliminate traffic fatalities, fully leverage historic federal funding, as well as maintain and expand the City's pedestrian and biking infrastructure. This will get us closer to being on par with peer cities.