The Full Release:
ATLANTA — The City of Atlanta will receive an $18 million TIGER V grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation for the development of a 2.5-mile portion of the Atlanta BeltLine in the southwest corridor, announced Mayor Reed on Monday.
“The Atlanta BeltLine is one of the most transformative projects ever undertaken in our city’s history,” said Mayor Reed. “I sincerely appreciate President Barack Obama and U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx for supporting vital surface transportation projects that will improve mobility and the quality of life for residents in cities across the nation such as Atlanta. This $18 million grant is a tremendous step forward in my administration’s goal to make the vision of the Atlanta BeltLine a reality much sooner.”
The TIGER V grant to be awarded to the City of Atlanta will fund the development of 2.5 miles of the Atlanta BeltLine corridor – a former freight rail line that has not been in use for nearly 30 years. The project includes the construction of shared use trails, trailheads and access points, and the preservation of the future streetcar transit corridor. It will run from Allene Avenue north to Lawton Street, where it will transition to the existing West End Trail for a few blocks, then return to the rail corridor near Ralph Abernathy Boulevard and run north to Lena Street and Washington Park, where it will terminate at the existing Westside Trail, a PATH Foundation trail.
“We are extremely grateful to the U.S. DOT for this opportunity to deliver such a significant part of the Atlanta BeltLine in southwest Atlanta years ahead of schedule,” said Paul Morris, President and CEO of Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. (ABI). ABI is the implementing entity for the Atlanta BeltLine.
In all, the southwest corridor project includes 16 accessible points of entry with ADA-accessible ramps and stair systems at nine cross-streets, including Ralph David Abernathy Boulevard, Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, Lee Street and Murphy Avenue. It includes a 14-foot wide concrete trail, two foot shoulders and landscaping associated with the greenway corridor. Lighting, utilities, significant retaining wall infrastructure, security cameras and signage also will be constructed as part of the project. Modern streetcar transit is planned for a future stage of this corridor’s development.
The TIGER V grant covers roughly 42 percent of the total project cost, which is estimated at $43 million and includes the cost of right-of-way, design, demolition and construction. The project’s benefits include the creation of a bicycle and pedestrian safe transportation corridor with connections to four local schools, direct access from neighborhoods to four parks, and a significant regional quality of life amenity for the area. The Atlanta BeltLine Eastside Trail, which opened in October 2012, has already proven itself as a redevelopment catalyst, with roughly $775 million in private real estate development completed or underway within a half-mile of the project since 2005.
The U.S. DOT gave priority to projects that are ready to proceed quickly and have a significant impact on a metropolitan area or a region. Factors included whether the project would contribute to the economic competitiveness of the nation over the medium and long-term; foster livable communities through place-based policies and investments that increase transportation choices and access to transportation services, and improve energy efficiency and reduce oil dependence and greenhouse gas emissions.
In the 2013 TIGER V grant application process, U.S. DOT received 568 applications from every state in the nation requesting more than $9 billion for transportation projects, including highways and bridges, public transit and railroads and port infrastructure. The federal government awarded about $474 million total in this round of Tiger grant funding.
Under Mayor Reed’s leadership, the city of Atlanta in 2010 received a $47.6 million Tiger II grant, the largest in the nation, from U.S. DOT for the construction of the Atlanta Streetcar, scheduled to open in 2014. Mayor Reed said he is pleased U.S. DOT officials have once again shown their confidence in the City of Atlanta by awarding it yet another TIGER grant.