U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx joined Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed to tour the east side of the Atlanta BeltLine, calling it an example of the sort of large-scale job creation and transportation investment that Congress can make possible nationwide by reauthorizing a long-term transportation bill this year.
Foxx’s visit is part of his "Invest in America, Commit to the Future" bus tour, a multi-state tour highlighting the urgent need to invest in America’s transportation infrastructure at a time when the nation’s surface transportation programs are set to expire and the Highway Trust Fund is running out of money.
“Projects like the Atlanta BeltLine not only create jobs when they’re being built, but help connect thousands of Americans to better opportunities by providing better access to work and school,” said Secretary Foxx.
The completed Atlanta BeltLine is expected to include a 22-mile streetcar loop with connections to the existing Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority rail system and the downtown Atlanta Streetcar Project, which is currently under construction and expected to open later this year.
In addition to significantly improving access to transit options for thousands of residents in the Atlanta region, the BeltLine connects to affordable housing, hiking and walking trails, a skate park and open parkland.
The U.S. Department of Transportation provided $18 million to support the Beltline project from its popular TIGER grant program in FY 2013, in addition to a separate $47.7 million TIGER grant in FY 2010 for Atlanta’s streetcar. Altogether, the federal, state and local investment in these projects spurred significant private investment in the surrounding area.
After touring the BeltLine, Secretary Foxx spoke about the Administration’s plan to address the infrastructure deficit with a $302 billion, four-year surface transportation reauthorization proposal. The plan will invest in the national infrastructure network, increase safety and efficiency and provide greater access to ladders of opportunity, all without adding to the deficit.
Later this month, Foxx and President Obama will send a bill to Congress that will make this vision a reality and put more Americans back to work repairing and modernizing the nation’s roads, bridges, railways and transit systems.
Foxx’s Invest in America, Commit to the Future bus tour is taking him through eight states in five days. The tour includes visits to manufacturers, bridges, freight facilities and highway projects in an effort to raise awareness of America’s infrastructure needs.
To follow the trip’s progress, click here.