By Jenny Odom
The Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) awarded Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. (ABI) $4 million in federal funding through its regional Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) call for projects. The funding will go directly towards construction of the Southside Trail beginning in fiscal year 2023. The funded projects are codified in ARC’s TIP that distributes federal funding for transportation projects across metro Atlanta. As the central core of the Atlanta Regional Trail network, each segment of completed Atlanta BeltLine trail has a multiplier effect as by closing gaps in the transportation network, connecting with both regional and local trails, and providing viable transportation options.
For construction planning purposes, the Southside Trail has been divided into six segments. Segment 1, also known as Southside Trail – West, is currently under construction with anticipated completion in late summer 2021. It connects the southern end of the Westside Trail to Pittsburgh Yards on University Avenue. Awarded as part of the Surface Transportation Block Grant (STBG) category, funding is committed to Segment 2, connecting Pittsburgh Yards and Milton Avenue. Segments 2 and 3 (between Milton Avenue and Boulevard) will likely begin construction in 2023 in alignment with federal funding. Segments 4 and 5 (between Boulevard and Glenwood Avenue) will mobilize for construction in 2022. Segment 6 encompasses the interim safety improvements along Bill Kennedy Way, which are now complete. A map and details can be found here on www.beltline.org.
“We are honored to be recognized by the Atlanta Regional Commission with funding to advance the Atlanta BeltLine,” said Clyde Higgs, President and CEO of Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. “Multi-use trails have proven to be a catalyst for economic development, and we are committed to advancing the Atlanta BeltLine in ways that support and uplift communities around the full 22-mile loop.”
The Atlanta BeltLine Southside Trail ranked “high” among 18 projects funded in the multi-use trail category, to which a total of nearly $68 million was allocated, or 25% of total funding. The awarded trail projects will add 47 miles of new multiuse trails to the region. 67% of the awarded projects are located in Environmental Justice (EJ) communities, including the Southside Trail.
Local funds, potentially including those raised through the BeltLine Tax Allocation District (TAD) and the Special Service District (SSD), will serve as a local match for the federal grant. SSD funding provides additional avenues to advance equity within communities through housing affordability and small business support, job creation, and the increased hiring of Minority Business Enterprises.
ABI will continue community outreach throughout all design and construction projects. For a list of upcoming and past public meetings, please visit www.beltline.org/meetings.