The U.S. Department of Transportation selected the City of Atlanta and the BeltLine to receive one of its RAISE discretionary grants this year, distributing $25 million to aid the expansion of the city’s loop of multi-use trails.
The BeltLine intends to use this funding to further develop its Northeast Trail, connecting the Lindburgh Center MARTA station to nearby regional trails and other parts of the BeltLine via 2.2 miles of added trail pathways.
This addition to the Northeast Trail will also optimize transportation across Lindburgh and surrounding neighborhoods, as it’s the only location in metro Atlanta where regional walking trails intersect with state roads, highways, rail and bus routes and an interstate, according to a BeltLine press release.
Atlanta BeltLine president and CEO Clyde Higgs said the assistance from the DOT and political leaders like Rep. Nikema Williams and Sens. Ossoff and Warnock will help the BeltLine achieve its goal of connecting Atlanta’s neighborhoods at a faster rate, improving the city’s housing and labor conditions in the process.
“With the incredible support of the USDOT and our congressional delegation, we’re creating a city that allows people to move within it, creating new access points that lead to jobs, housing and activities,” Higgs said. “The BeltLine is creating a vibrant public space and a more equitable city for Atlantans by ensuring mobility and access for all who live and work near the corridor. The construction of the Northeast Trail network is a crucial part of this vision.”
The BeltLine faced stiff competition from hundreds of infrastructure projects in need of funding located across the country. According to the DOT, grant applications this year exceeded the department’s finite amount of available funding, with requested support from prospects adding up to a total of $15 billion. The BeltLine was one of 162 projects chosen by the DOT to receive a portion of the RAISE program’s $2.26 billion worth of infrastructure funding.
The grant will constitute about a third of the BeltLine’s total cost of $70.7 million.
The DOT’s Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity program, or RAISE for short, is part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, aiming to improve the condition of existing infrastructure around the United States. Department of Transportation secretary Pete Buttigieg said the RAISE program benefits communities of all sizes by enhancing their local economies and developing them into safer, more equitable places to live and work.
“Using the funds in President Biden’s infrastructure law, we are helping communities in every state across the country realize their visions for new infrastructure projects,” Buttigieg said. “This round of RAISE grants is helping create a new generation of good-paying jobs in rural and urban communities alike, with projects whose benefits will include improving safety, fighting climate change, advancing equity, strengthening our supply chain and more.”
Construction on the new section of the Northeast Trail is slated to begin in early 2025.