The Infrastructure Bond, the TSPLOST, and the Buckhead CID
By Jim Durrett, President of Buckhead Coalition and Executive Director of Buckhead Community Improvement District
Before I get to the subject of this column, let me say that last week Buckhead Coalition member and UPS CEO Carol Tomé was celebrated at the Four Pillar Tribute and her inspirational life and example made a strong impression on me. Thank you, Carol.
The Buckhead Community Improvement District, along with the improvement districts in Downtown and Midtown Atlanta, do a lot of collaborating with the City of Atlanta. While our three CIDs spend our tax dollars to keep our districts clean, green, well maintained and safe, the lion’s share of our funds go to making capital improvements to our street networks.
Sometimes we decide to go it alone and fund an improvement solely with CID tax receipts. Most of the time we look to collaborate with others to jointly fund capital projects. In the past, the Buckhead CID has collaborated with MARTA, the State Road and Tollway Authority through their Georgia Transportation Infrastructure Bank program, Georgia Department of Transportation, the Atlanta Regional Commission through their federal transportation grant program, the federal government and the City of Atlanta. Through collaboration we can make our collective resources go further and bring diverse perspectives to problem solving.
Five months ago, Atlanta voters approved three ballot measures to fund infrastructure needs through bond financing and the extension of the 0.4-cent TSPLOST, or transportation sales tax, that is paid in the City of Atlanta. This week the Atlanta City Council’s Transportation Committee should vote to recommend to the full Council the project delivery strategy proposed by the Administration. Also this week, the City Council will vote on the issuance and sale of the General Obligation bond approved by the voters. Once these actions are finalized, $750 million will shortly begin flowing to advance these needed infrastructure projects across the city.
Two projects, with estimated combined costs of $13.8 million, will involve the Buckhead CID as a collaborative partner.
The first is the repair and repaving, along with safety improvements, of West Paces Ferry Road from Slaton Road to I-75. The amount dedicated to this significant project is $7.8 million, and the work is expected to be completed in 2023.
The second Buckhead project to be funded partially through City of Atlanta funds is the construction of the middle section of the Buckhead CID’s Lenox Road Complete Street project. The entire project stretches 1.25 miles from East Paces Ferry Road behind Lenox Square north across Peachtree and GA 400 to Piedmont Road. It will transform this major thoroughfare by adding pedestrian infrastructure and improving traffic flow while also improving its overall appearance and appeal. The middle section of this project begins at Peachtree and ends at Phipps Boulevard. The Buckhead CID is paying for the engineering and final design, which will begin later this year and wrap up in 2023 or early 2024. Construction will follow, with the City of Atlanta providing $6 million in funding.
These aren’t the only projects on which we are working in partnership with the City, but with the imminent approval of the project delivery strategy and the issuance and sale of the bonds, I wanted you to know how the CID will be working to deliver what the City’s taxpayers voted to fund.