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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Georgia Regional Transportation Authority: A Case Study of an Innovative Regional Planning Institution


The Georgia Regional Transportation Authority (GRTA), a new regional planning institution, is a governor-appointed body of 15 regional leaders with broad authority over land use and transportation planning throughout the state. Created in the summer of 1 999, GRTA emerged from a public-private process that sought to reform transportation planning in the Atlanta region, but its authority far surpasses what was initially conceived by that public-private effort, theMetropolitanAtlantaTransportationInitiative(MATI). Thispoper is a case study of the MATI process and the emergence of GRTA that illustrates in some detail theformation ofa new and innovative regional planning institution. What it lacks in comparative breadth, it supplies in step-by-step analysis of how a group of business people and civic leaders reformed the planning process in a major American metropolitan region. One tentative conclusion is that theprivate sector can play a major role in regional planning, as they did in the development ofthis new regional planning institution. The case study also illustrates that while GRTA's initialfocus will be to solve Atlanta's transportation problems, GRTA may become an implementation vehicle for the Georgia Planning Act, a comprehensive but underutilized statewide land use planning statute.

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