The item on last night’s agenda (page 59) – which led me to the city’s $1.77 million McDonough Street LCI grant – is also of particular interest on its own.
Remember when the Atlanta Regional Commission saved MARTA from massive cuts last year, directing $25 million in federal stimulus money to the cash-strapped transit authority’s operating budget?
Well, there were some strings attached. It wasn’t an out-of-the-kindness-of-their-heart gift.
It was actually just a clever way to get around the suffocating state-imposed mandate that MARTA use half of its revenue from the 1-cent Fulton/DeKalb tax on “capital improvement”, even in times when the other 50% can’t keep the operating budget afloat. (For more background info and the current sorry state on transit legislation, check out Thomas Wheatley’s excellent Creative Loafing article from yesterday)
In exchange for its $25 million operating budget “bailout”, MARTA agreed to use an equal amount of funds from its capital improvement fund to pay for studies and improvements around MARTA stations in line with the ARC’s mission to promote and fund more “livable” communities.
And it looks like Decatur will see a piece of that delicious capital improvements pie.
At last night’s City Commission meeting, the commission approved an agreement that MARTA would fund the planning and design for both the North McDonough streetscape improvements AND improvements to the Commerce Street intersections at Church Street and Clairemont Ave.
In a note to City Manager Peggy Merriss, Asst. City Manager Hugh Saxon also mentions that he believes there will be enough funding in the $750,000 budget to also design bike lanes for Church Street.