While many of us are trying to forget the November election, Kyle Wingfield has the audacity to remind us of the failure that was T-SPLOST. Why bring up this unpleasantness? Because the state DOT is going to spend $5 Million of existing funds to make a few downtown bridges pretty.
“The makeover, according to the Midtown Alliance, will include colored under-lighting for night time and the words “Peachtree Street” in lights, as well as sculptured fences and sidewalks on the surface level over the I-85/I-75 interchange.
“The Department of Transportation’s board approved the expense on Thursday. DOT will put $1.7 million toward the $5 million project for two bridges. Three other bridges would follow later, said DOT board member Sam Wellborn.”
Yes, this must be the best way to spend $5 million in transportation funding (the Atlanta Downtown Improvement District is to contribute some of the money). Just think how pretty Peachtree Street will look as motorists are stuck in traffic on or underneath it!
Now, before you say, “It’s only $5 million. How much traffic relief could we get for that kind of money?” — I have numbers.
Wingfield is kind enough to spell out projects within the City of Atlanta that were on the project list and could be accomplished were it not for the pressing need to beautify existing bridges. And then he adds another problem that leads to misplaced priorities:
Ah, but what about this line from the AJC story?
The DOT money comes from signs near highway exits that advertise businesses at upcoming rest stops. That money is dedicated to making “gateways” to the state attractive.
Shouldn’t that stipulation preclude the money from being spent on traffic improvements rather than sprucing up our roads? I dunno; ask me again after the state has stopped diverting other fee revenues from the purposes prescribed by the laws creating them.
Not wasting this $5 Million and spending it on projects identified as needed to reduce congestion would be a nice start. Just think, if that small action could begin to rebuild trust with how our transportation dollars are spent, just imagine how much trust could be built if $300 Million of hotel/motel tax money wasn’t squandered on replacing infrastructure that already works and was used on a project that could benefit a much greater portion of Atlanta’s hotel industry. **cough, Beltline, cough**