By Maria Saporta
At the Atlanta Region Summit of Georgia’s Competitiveness Initiative, Gov. Nathan Deal highlighted the unprecedented cooperation between the state and the City of Atlanta.
Specifically, both Deal and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed spoke of their recent joint trip to Washington, D.C. to try to secure federal dollars and support to Georgia.
“I do believe you are going to see this week that we are going to be announcing the results of that trip to Washington,” Deal told the group of more than 200 metro leaders.
Reed did his own tease when he addressed the audience, thanking the governor for being willing to work together on that trip to Washington on June 1 when they met with a multitude of federal officials.
“We are going to see the fruits of that trip very shortly,” the mayor said.
After his talk, Reed was asked about “the announcement” by several members of the press.
The only thing Reed would say was: “I think we are going to have a very good announcement for the state in the morning.”
It appears that the announcement, to be held Tuesday at 11 a.m. at the capitol, will be about federal financing to add toll lanes along I-75 and I-575 — a project that could provide congestion relief for people traveling in Cobb and Cherokee counties.
The announcement is expected to be that the federal government will loan Georgia $270 million of the $1 billion project. The federally-subsidized loan reportedly would help decrease Georgia’s project costs by up to $100 million.
During their trip to D.C., Deal and Reed did lobby U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood for a $375 million loan from the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act. The announcement, however, is expected to be less than what Reed and Deal had requested.
The project would be a public-private partnership to build toll lanes where drivers would actually pay a premium to be able to drive on those lanes. The state is expected to have to invest as much as $350 million for the project to be built.