U.S. Department of Transportation Awards $25 Million RAISE Grant for 2.2 Miles of Atlanta BeltLine Multi-Use Trail

Staff Report

Wednesday, June 28th, 2023

The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) announced the award of a $25 million Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) grant to the City of Atlanta and Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. The funds will be used for the construction of a 2.2-mile network of multi-use trails in northeast Atlanta between the Armour/Ottley and Lindbergh areas. This will be the first time the Atlanta BeltLine trail will connect to a MARTA transit station (at Lindbergh Center), fulfilling the vision to connect with the region’s larger transportation network. It will also knit together the regional trail network, affordable housing, and job centers across a complex series of transportation barriers. Without securing this grant, the construction of these vitally important connector trails was uncertain.  

“The Northeast segment of the BeltLine is a huge undertaking, but Atlanta does big and we do it well—and we do it together,” said Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens. “Thanks to Senator Ossoff, Senator Warnock, Congresswoman Williams and the Biden Administration, Atlanta now has $25 million in funding—in addition to millions in infrastructure dollars already delivered—for utility, stormwater, accessibility and safety infrastructure for Segment 3 and surrounding connectors.” 

Unlike most of the BeltLine corridor, this portion of the Northeast Trail does not follow abandoned railroad lines. It’s also unique in metro Atlanta as the only place where an interstate, state roads and highways, regional rail and bus, and several regional trails converge. The new BeltLine trail segments will provide safe crossings of existing MARTA heavy rail, Norfolk Southern and CSX freight rail, state highway, and Peachtree Creek. The project will provide pedestrian and cyclist access between the Atlanta BeltLine mainline trail, the Armour/Ottley business district, major employers along Piedmont Road, multi-family residential developments, and major regional trails.  

“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,” said Clyde Higgs, President and CEO of Atlanta BeltLine. Inc. “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 Atlanta BeltLine is catalyzing current and future regional growth surrounding a 22-mile loop of trails, transit, and parks. It connects communities that were intentionally segregated for generations by large infrastructure projects and banking policies that split the city and forged deep divisions by race and class. The Atlanta BeltLine’s RAISE proposal, titled “Trails to Transit: Reconnecting Atlanta Communities,” supports safety, environmental sustainability, quality of life, mobility and community connectivity, economic competitiveness, and opportunity.    

“The BeltLine is more than a walking path, it is an artery connecting Atlantans to each other and their neighborhoods in the heart of our state,” said Sen. Reverend Warnock. “That is why I am proud to have worked alongside Senator Ossoff to secure these funds for the city to expand trail construction, bolster accessibility, strengthen economic development and more. Atlanta is on the frontlines of our green economy, and by investing in this world-class transportation corridor, we are continuing to pave a path towards a better tomorrow.”  

“The BeltLine is a transformative Metro Atlanta infrastructure project to upgrade quality of life and spur equitable development across the region. Through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we are investing to accelerate the completion of the BeltLine Trail,” Sen. Ossoff said. “Imagine families walking and biking, restaurants, retail, and small businesses, green spaces and trail connectivity across Metro Atlanta. This is a huge step forward towards that vision.”

The Atlanta BeltLine trail corridor is funded through the BeltLine Tax Allocation District (TAD), the Special Service District (SSD), philanthropic contributions, grants, and other funding sources needed to complete the loop. The Atlanta Regional Commission prioritized funding for Northeast Trail construction and allocated $12.97 million in federal funding through the Transportation Improvement Program. The RAISE grant will provide $25 million toward a critical funding gap to support the total project cost of $70.7 million.   

“Over and over again, we see how much the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law invests in people. This $25 million for continued BeltLine expansion will connect people to essential transportation and the best our region has to offer–safely and with a focus on accessibility,” said Congresswoman Nikema Williams (GA-05). “The BeltLine is a catalyst for equity, growth, and opportunity for Atlantans and is a shining example of what it looks like to think boldly about infrastructure.”

Construction on the RAISE-funded section of the Northeast Trail mainline and connector trails is anticipated to begin in early 2025. Trail design is currently 60 percent complete. The next community meeting to provide updates on the Northeast Trail will take place on July 27.  

Supporting graphics, including an animated map, can be downloaded here.