Atlanta Beltline lands $16 million federal grant for Southside Trail

by John Yellig

Courtesy of Atlanta BeltLine Inc.

Atlanta’s BeltLine trail received a $16.46 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation for the construction of almost two miles of the Southside Trail, which runs from Pittsburgh Yards in southwest Atlanta to Boulevard in the southeast.

For construction-planning purposes and to accelerate delivery, the Southside Trail has been divided into segments, the first of which opened to the public in September, connecting the southern end of the Westside Trail to Pittsburgh Yards on University Avenue. The grant will support the construction of the next two segments from Pittsburgh Yards to Boulevard. The total cost for construction of this portion of the Southside Trail is approximately $40 million.

Work on the new segments is expected to begin within two years after brownfield remediation, utility relocation and permitting. The 1.9-mile trail will include six ADA-access points, including ramps and retention walls, and two enhanced at-grade crossings, Atlanta Beltline Inc. said in a press release. Eight of the nine Census tracts surrounding segments 2 and 3 of the Southside Trail are DOT-designated Areas of Persistent Poverty. Upon completion of the Southside Trail, users will be able to travel on 10 miles of paved Atlanta BeltLine trail from Washington Park west of downtown to Piedmont Park northeast of downtown.

The grant was awarded to the City of Atlanta and Atlanta BeltLine Inc. under the DOT’s RAISE program. Funds will help bring the entire 22-mile Atlanta BeltLine multi-use trail loop to fruition by leveraging design and construction funding from the Special Service District and the Tax Allocation District. The grant builds on $4 million in federal funding received earlier this year through the Atlanta Regional Commission Transportation Improvement Program. In 2013, the DOT provided an $18 million grant for the construction of 2.5 miles of the Westside Trail. 

“When we connect our communities with pedestrian and bike trails, we provide a pathway for residents to enjoy local green spaces and invest in small businesses,” said Ga. Sen. Raphael Warnock. “We bolster social and economic mobility for hardworking Georgians when we make strong federal investments in projects like the Atlanta BeltLine, and I look forward to securing more infrastructure investments like this one for other vital transportation projects in Atlanta and across our state.”

“This $16 million investment in the BeltLine is going to substantially accelerate the project and will help communities all around metro Atlanta,” Ga. Sen. Jon Ossoff said. “When I was campaigning for the Senate, I made promises to deliver resources for the BeltLine, and I’m keeping those promises.”

The 2021 RAISE program will provide $1 billion to a combination of urban and rural areas nationwide. For capital projects in urban areas, the maximum award is $25 million with a minimum of $5 million.

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