February 14, 2017

ARC 2016 State of the Region Annual Report

What a journey it’s been. From its humble beginnings as a railroad outpost, metro Atlanta has grown to become one of the nation’s largest, most dynamic regions and a major player on the global stage.

How did we get here? It took careful planning, bold leadership and an ability to work together to tackle our greatest challenges.

In 2016, metro Atlanta continued its upward trajectory. Our population grew at the fastest rate since the financial crisis, and the unemployment rate steadily dropped as people re-entered the workforce.

In the past year, the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) undertook a number of initiatives that promise to shape our region for years to come. Most notably, the ARC board adopted the Atlanta Region’s Plan, a long-range blueprint to enhance the region’s future.

ARC also adopted an extensive update to its bicycle- pedestrian plan that aims to transform the region by investing in beer sidewalks, more bike lanes and expanded trail networks. And in June, the ARC board approved a regional freight plan that will improve the movement of goods throughout the region, keeping our economy competitive.

The Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District, which is staffed by ARC, continued its successful efforts to achieve substantial water conservation and is developing a water resource management plan that integrates water supply, wastewater and watershed planning.

ARC also offered a range of new and improved services for the region’s fast-growing population of older adults, with a focus on expanding transportation options. Meanwhile, the region’s five workforce boards are re-tooling to meet the demands of a changing workforce. They’re collaborating to build a truly regional system and are working to meet the needs of both employers and job seekers.

Finally, tremendous progress was made on several of our region’s collaborative efforts. The Aerotropolis Atlanta Alliance developed a blueprint to boost economic development around Hartsfield- Jackson Atlanta International Airport. And the Regional Economic Competitiveness Strategy continued its innovative work, including a regional “cradle to career” education initiative to help children get the skills and training they need to graduate high school and enter the workforce.

These are just a few examples of the ambitious efforts taking place at ARC and around metro Atlanta to secure our region’s future. Indeed, a region’s journey never ends. We must constantly evolve and adapt to a fast-changing world, anticipate new challenges and take advantage of opportunities that arise.