Cooperation among local governments in the Atlanta region is a long-standing tradition. ARC and its predecessor agencies have coordinated the planning efforts in the region since 1947, when the first publicly-supported, multi-county planning agency in the United States was created. At that time, the Metropolitan Planning Commission (MPC) served DeKalb and Fulton counties and the City of Atlanta. Since then, ARC membership has grown to its current size of 10 counties and 70 municipalities.
The Atlanta Regional Commission is funded through a number of sources: local, state and federal government entities and private funds.
Georgia law stipulates a mandatory annual local funding formula. These funds from local governments are used to match federal and state funding dollars.
The Board membership of the Atlanta Regional Commission is composed as follows:
- Each County Commission Chairman in the region
- One mayor from each county (except Fulton County) chosen by a caucus of mayors
- One mayor from the northern half of Fulton County elected by a caucus of mayors within northern Fulton County and one mayor from the southern half of Fulton County elected in the same fashion
- The mayor of the City of Atlanta
- One member of the Atlanta City Council, chosen by the council
- Fifteen private citizens, (ARC Citizen District Map-PDF) one from each of the 15 multi-jurisdictional districts of roughly equal population, elected by the 23 public officials; and
- One member appointed by the Board of the Georgia Department of Community Affairs.