Skip to Content
Streetsblog USA home
Streetsblog USA home
Log In
Streetsblog.net

Atlanta Picking Up the Tab for New Stadium as Transit Funding Stagnates

Greater Atlanta, in voting down a transit-focused package of transportation improvements this summer, demonstrated its inability to act regionally to address major quality-of-life problems.

false

The city remains plagued by traffic congestion, with no clear plan to fix it, in the face of rapid projected population growth. In addition, last week, Atlanta was named the sixth most dangerous city in America, in terms of violent crimes per 100,000 residents.

Mayor Kasim Reed and city leaders are now marshaling funds, not to address either of those issues, but to tackle something that is apparently considered more critical: the Atlanta Falcons' desire for a new stadium.

Reed is floating the idea of using $300 million in revenue from the city's hotel tax to cover a large portion of the replacement costs for the 20-year-old Georgia Dome, according to Network blog Marta Rocks! But blogger "Urban Commuter" says the city is making an all-too-common mistake:

Somehow, sports stadiums have become the new “Keeping up with the Joneses” for cities. Another city got a new stadium with a big jumbotron. It is only right that your city must get a newer stadium with an even bigger jumbotron. It is like the two middle aged guys in the neighborhood trying to one-up the other with a new grill, new car, or new power tool while ignoring the cracking foundation under their home. But who can see the foundation anyways, right? And that is what we have, ignoring the foundation of our city for a cosmetic good.

It pains me to lay criticism at Reed’s feet for this. I really like him, and think he is one of the best mayors in this country... But this is where he could drop the ball in my opinion. We watched [the transportation referendum] get beaten down by the region. But the City of Atlanta voted yes and by a pretty good margin. During TSPLOST, Reed attempted to act as a regional ambassador, which I appreciated. It was his attempt to bring the region together on a vital issue. But the region spit in his face... And while the stadium may reside in the City of Atlanta, it is used by the entire region. So if the region rejected us on something as important as improved roads, rails, bridges, and sidewalks, why would we offer them an entertainment facility that would be used less than a dozen times in a year?

The claim is that only $300 million will be used from the city hotel/motel tax to help fund the stadium. But that $300 million could go a long way in solving local transportation issues, and even longer if used as a means to match federal funds for projects.

Elsewhere on the Network today: I Bike TO shares a British Columbia study finding that bike infrastructure -- especially protected bike lanes -- makes city cycling safer. City Block highlights Portland's abolition of parking minimums in certain transit-rich parts of the city. And Half Mile Circles looks at how Monday Night Football rivals Detroit and Chicago match up in a head-to-head livability competition.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog USA

Tuesday’s Headlines Are Running Hard

More political news: Today's top stories delve into Kamala Harris' record on climate change and Republicans' plans for the Trump administration if he returns to power.

July 23, 2024

State DOTs Could Fuel a Resurgence in Intercity Bus Travel

Private equity firms are killing off intercity bus companies. Will public agencies fill in the gaps?

July 23, 2024

GOP’s ‘Project 2025’ is ‘Based on a Lot of ignorance’

What does Transportation for America's Beth Osborne think of the transportation portion of the Heritage Foundation's playbook for a Trump presidency?

July 23, 2024

What a Surprise! Hochul’s Congestion Pricing Pause Helps Rich Suburban Drivers

Gov. Hochul's "little guys" certainly have big wallets. Meanwhile, the rest of us suffer with declining subway service and buses that are slower than walking. Thanks, Kathy.

July 22, 2024

Philadelphia Demands More Than ‘Flex-Post’ Protected Bike Lanes After Motorist Kills Cyclist

Pediatric oncologist Barbara Friedes was struck while biking on a "protected" path. Now, advocates are arguing that flex posts should be replaced with something far better.

July 22, 2024
See all posts