Atlanta BeltLine Awarded $18 Million Grant

The United States DOT received 568 applications requesting funds for transportation enhancement projects via the TIGER grant program.

Photo courtesy The Atlanta BeltLine An $18 million dollar TIGER grant will enhance this area of the Atlanta BeltLine. 

There are now 18 million reasons to celebrate Art on the BeltLine kicking off this weekend as the City of Atlanta was awarded a TIGER V grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation. The $18 million grant will reportedly be used to develop a 2.5-mile portion of the southwest corridor of the 22-mile-long BeltLine.

Photo by: Christopher T. Martin Last year's parade route passed the old Sears building on Ponce de Leon, which will soon operate as Ponce City Market. 

TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) grants are awarded on a competitive basis for projects deemed to have a significant impact on a metropolitan area. Atlanta was also awarded a TIGER grant in 2010 to the tune of $47.6 million for the construction of the streetcar. Mayor Kasim Reed played a significant and integral role in the acquisition of both grants. 

“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 2.5-mile area was formerly a freight rail line left dormant for nearly 30 years. The project includes the preservation of the future streetcar transit corridor, the construction of shared-use trails, trailheads and other access points. The area extends 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.

Photo by: Christopher T. Martin All of your best friends, including the furry and four-legged ones, are invited to participate in the Lantern Parade along the Atlanta BeltLine. 

The entire cost of the project is estimated to cost $43 million with this grant covering about 43% of the tab. Benefits of the project include the creation of a bicycle and pedestrian-safe transportation corridor connecting to four schools. Area neighborhoods will enjoy direct access to four parks. The Atlanta BeltLine Eastside Trail, which opened in October 2012, has 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.

“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.

According to a release submitted by the Atlanta BeltLine, the DOT gave priority to projects ready to proceed quickly and 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 Lantern Parade, which is Saturday, September 7, kicks off 2013's annual Art on the BeltLine. 

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