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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

City wants to know how local share of transportation-tax cash should be spent

Should metro Atlanta voters blow our minds in July and actually approve the regional transportation tax, we won't just generate billions of dollars to build new roads and transit. The city will also receive a cut of that cash — approximately $95 million, or more than $9 million each year — to spend on local projects. Maria Saporta spoke with Tom Weyandt, the city's senior transportation adviser, who provided a good rundown of the process:

The first category (roughly $4 million a year,) would be for “high-profile” projects — major city roadways, such as DeKalb Avenue, Cascade Road, Fairburn Road, Flat Shoals Avenue, Lenox Road, Monroe Dr., West Paces Ferry Road, to name a few possible corridors.

Weyandt said the corridor improvements could include pavement resurfacing, sidewalk repair and installation, streetscape improvements, lighting, bicycle facilities, pedestrian crossings, on-street parking and transit amenities.

All the projects would be pulled from the “Connect Atlanta Plan,” the “2011 Comprehensive Development Plan and the 2010 State of City’s Transportation Infrastructure & Fleet Inventory Report.

The second category will be to distribute about $3.2 million a year among the city’s individual 12 City Council districts. Each council district would get about $265,000 a year to put in their communities. Again, all the selected projects would come from the city’s already approved transportation plan.

Some of the cash might be put into a reserve account to match federal funding awards (which we hope will still actually exist under President Rick Santorum).

City Hall officials are holding meetings throughout Atlanta this week to determine how to split up that cash according to the city's needs. The first meeting, in the southeast quadrant of the city, was held last night. Southwest Atlanta's session takes place tonight at Cascade United Methodist Church. The Northeast Quadrant meeting will take place on Thursday at the atrium inside MARTA's Lindbergh Center Headquarters. The fourth and final meeting will be held at Atlanta Union Mission's Carpenter's House on Bolton Road on Monday, March 5. All meetings begin at 6 p.m. with a presentation. The presentation will repeat at 7 p.m. Take MARTA if possible.

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