Thursday, February 10, 2011

Fixing Atlanta's broken infrastructure will require patience — oh, and $922 million

Posted By on Thu, Feb 10, 2011 at 9:01 AM

Want to do something about Atlanta's cracked sidewalks, pothole-filled streets, and crumbling bridges? Step away from your computer and go door-to-door asking for donations. Don't come home until you've collected $922 million. That's how much city officials estimate it'll cost to repair Atlanta's transportation infrastructure. Via WSB-TV:

The city needs $289 million to repair and replace crumbling bridges, officials said. Three in downtown Atlanta have giant nets under them to protect pedestrians from falling chunks of concrete and asphalt.

Officials said $262 million is needed for street resurfacing. Fifty-one percent of Atlanta’s streets, or 834 miles, are past their life cycle and in need of repaving.

The administration also said the city needs $240 million to repair sidewalks, curbs and ADA ramps. The annual amount the city should budget to whittle away at all its infrastructure needs equals the entire budget of the police department.

Some state lawmakers are pushing to allow cities and counties to levy sales tax by less than a penny — in one-tenth increments — to help pay for the fixes. (Last we heard there was talk of doing the same to help fund arts programs.)

They better hurry. In 2009, then-Mayor Shirley Franklin warned that the city's infrastructure backlog hovered around $750 million. Projects are going to pile up — and only become more expensive.

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