It terms of project funding, 2021 is trending much better than years past for Atlanta BeltLine Inc.

The latest financial boost is a $4-million Atlanta Regional Commission grant that’s being awarded to the BeltLine as part of a push for broad transportation improvements in the metro, BeltLine officials announced today.

The federal funding comes via ARC’s regional Transportation Improvement Program, or TIP. BeltLine officials say it will be used directly in construction of the Southside Trail—a critical four-mile link between the city’s east and west sides—beginning in fiscal year 2023.

The BeltLine has twice been denied federal funds to help finish the southern portion of the 22-mile loop in recent years.

The Southside corridor has now been broken down into six segments, spanning from Adair Park around to Reynoldstown. More specifically, the ARC’s Surface Transportation Block Grant will be channeled toward building out segments 2 and 3—the pieces between jobs hub Pittsburgh Yards in Pittsburgh and Boulevard in Grant Park.

BeltLine leaders have now divided the Southside Trail corridor into six segments, spanning from Reynoldstown to Adair Park. Courtesy of Atlanta BeltLine Inc.

Construction is expected to begin on that portion sometime in 2023, as federal funding allows.

The BeltLine is considered the core of a broader Atlanta Regional Trail network. As such, “each segment of completed [BeltLine] trail has a multiplier effect,” project officials noted in an announcement today, “by closing gaps in the transportation network, connecting with both regional and local trails, and providing viable transportation options.”

Earlier this year, the passage of a Special Service District that levies additional taxes for commercial property owners near the BeltLine has accelerated building efforts, especially along the Southside Trail. All six segments are expected to be finished or under construction by 2023.

A quick breakdown of remaining pieces:

BeltLine officials are now referring to interim safety improvements along Bill Kennedy Way as the Southside Trail’s Segment 6. Those have been completed.

On the flipside of town, Segment 1—also known as Southside Trail-West—is expected to finish construction and open in late summer this year. That will link the Westside Trail’s current stopping point around to University Avenue.

Lastly, Segments 4 and 5 between Boulevard and Glenwood Avenue are expected to be bid out this summer, with construction beginning next year.

watermark The BeltLine's interim Southside Trail, as seen just south of Glenwood Avenue between Grant Park and Ormewood Park. Josh Green/Urbanize Atlanta

The ARC decided to award the Southside Trail and 17 other multi-use trail projects in the region a total of $68 million. That’s expected to cover 25 percent of costs to add 47 miles of new trails, per BeltLine officials.

BeltLine TAD funding and tax money pulled in from the SSD could serve as a local match for the ARC’s federal grant.

One highlight of the Southside Trail is this former train tunnel under McDonough Boulevard and active rail, which is covered in Segment 2. Courtesy of Jonathan Phillips

Recent BeltLine news, discussion (Urbanize Atlanta)