By David Pendered
The last bit of money needed to complete PATH400 has been earmarked in city and federal funding, which is a significant win for Livable Buckhead, the non-profit entity overseeing development of the linear park.
“Getting this support from Atlanta City Council and Atlanta Regional Commission underscores PATH400’s value as a critical piece of the region’s transportation infrastructure,” Denise Starling, executive director of Livable Buckhead, said in a statement released Monday.
The $12.7 million in commitments includes $5 million from the city and $7.7 million from the Federal Highway Administration. The FHA funding is distributed on the basis of the region’s long-range transportation plan, which the ARC oversees.
Construction is slated to begin in January on a 1-mile leg of PATH400 that will cross Ga. 400 to connect Miami Circle, two blocks north of MARTA’s Lindbergh Center Station, with the back of Lenox Square. Construction is expected to take about a year to complete.
This segment is viewed as especially significant because it is to connect to MARTA’s Lenox Station along a spur trail to be built by the Buckhead Community Improvement District as part of Complete Streets project along East Paces Ferry Road.
The Atlanta City Council voted Nov. 20 to allocate the $5 million from the 1 percent sales tax for transportation projects that voters approved last year.
The legislation states that the city commits to provide the $5 million from the proceeds of the transportation sales tax collected in 2017 and 2018. The paper notes that PATH400 will connect the City of Sandy Springs with MARTA’s Lindbergh Center Station.
“The competition for these dollars is fierce, so I want to thank Mayor Reed for recognizing the importance of this project, and ensuring that it was fully funded before leaving office,” Atlanta Councilmember Howard Shook said in the statement.
Shook sponsored the legislation to provide the funding. He represents the Buckhead area on the council.
The money from the FHA represents separate sums that total about $7.7 million.
The sum was included in the pending Transportation Improvement Program for fiscal years 2018 through 2023. The TIP is the region’s long-range transportation development plan that guides the spending of federal transportation funding.
The TIP calls for releasing the money for the segment of the trail from Wieuca Road to Loridans Drive on the following schedule; the years refer to the state’s fiscal year, which begins July 1 in the year preceeding the calendar year:
- FY 2019 – $632,200 for preliminary engineering;
- FY 2021 – $80,000 to acquire right of way.
- FY 2022 – $6.5 million for construction and $240,000 to relocate utilities.
For the segment from Loridans Drive to the Sandy Springs city limit:
- FY 2019 – $240,000 for preliminary engineering.
A 30-day public comment period on the TIP began Monday and closes Jan. 16.
The schedule calls for two ARC committees to vote on the plan, one vote taking place Feb. 9 and the other on Feb. 15. GRTA’s board of directors is to vote on the TIP on March 14.
Presuming the funding is provided, Starling said the next step may be to try to raise money to do any number of programs along the route.
“We may need to do additional fundraising in the future to support programming on PATH400 or to add new features, but the TSPLOST and TIP funds are a huge win and we’re thrilled to get them,” Starling said in the statement.