According to some reports, the Georgia Department of Transportation is asking for $3.4 billion from the incoming Obama administration. In Atlanta, Mayor Shirley Franklin has requested assistance for sewer repairs and the Beltline, among other projects.I can't tell you how much I would love to see the BeltLine get federal funds. The timeline for the BeltLine needs to get drastically sped up, and the transit portions should get priority. Part of what has slowed the BeltLine down is lack of funds. The TAD amendment passed the November referendum, and that will help, but it will really just put the BeltLine back on track. We need the kind of funds that would speed things up.
Most folks I talk to have gotten pretty pessimistic about the BeltLine. The timeline is just way too long, and people are losing confidence in the city's ability to pull it off. We need to be doing things to be more competitive now, not in 25 years. In 25 years when the first train goes down the BeltLine, we'll still be behind.
Ideally, I'd like to see the next mayor ramp things up. Getting federal funds would make this a more realistic possibility. Also, I hope streetcar funds were in the mayor's request. That is an entirely different post, of course.