Atlanta officials over the weekend celebrated a groundbreaking for a part of the BeltLine transit and trail project.

Mayor Shirley Franklin expressed optimism about the project moving forward despite a recent major setback for financing. Atlanta had planned to get funding from the sale of tax allocation bonds partly backed by school district taxes, but earlier this month the Georgia Supreme Court ruled that school revenues could not be used to back TAD bonds.

At the ceremony, Franklin said that the planned BeltLine project has received donation commitments from several companies in the area and that she was confident it would move forward as planned.

The BeltLine would incorporate old railroad tracks that loop around the city, adding 22 miles of light-rail transit that would connect with the existing MARTA transit system and the proposed Peachtree Streetcar. New multi-use trails will follow the loop, and additional trails will extend into surrounding neighborhoods to increase access to the BeltLine. As envisioned, the BeltLine would connect neighborhoods via sidewalks, streetscapes, and road/intersection improvements leading to a more cohesive urban street grid.

It will cost almost $3 billion to complete the project.

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