US Senator Jon Ossoff announced on April 20 that he had secured $5 million in federal funding to help complete the Atlanta BeltLine south side trail.
The $5 million is in addition to a federal grant of more than $16 million awarded last year to complete the critical link that will eventually connect the Eastside and Westside trails. The Atlanta Regional Commission has also secured federal funding of $4 million in 2021 for the construction of the Southside Trail.
“This is a new $5 million investment to accelerate and advance the completion of the Southside Trail,” Ossoff said at a news conference along the completed first portion of the Southside Trail. The nearly 1 mile paved portion of the trail is adjacent to a shared workspace Pittsburgh shipyards at 352 University Avenue SW.
“These resources will help support this extraordinary infrastructure project, which is a key part of the future of Metro Atlanta and vital to the development of a city of connected communities, thriving together, living healthy lives with a high standard of living, access to education, access to nutrition, access to entrepreneurial opportunities, connecting families with schools, families with small businesses and with affordable housing” , Ossoff said.
Atlanta BeltLine Inc. CEO Clyde Higgs said federal funding will go a long way toward ensuring equitable development and completing a key segment of the BeltLine. When complete, the BeltLine will be a 22-mile loop encircling the heart of the city and connecting dozens of neighborhoods. An additional 11 miles of side trails are also planned. The BeltLine is one of the nation’s largest urban redevelopment projects.
“The infrastructure, unfortunately, has a legacy of separating communities,” Higgs said. “And we have the ability to use this infrastructure…to reconnect, reconnect, reconnect, 45 distinct neighborhoods.”
Federal funding, coupled with funds raised from the new BeltLine Tax District, ensures the nearly $5 billion project which began in 2005 will be done by its 2030 deadline, Higgs said. This includes the promised 5,600 affordable housing units, he said.
“This is the first time in history that we actually have a line of sight to be able to complete the BeltLine project by the end of 2030,” Higgs said.