Mayor Reed’s leadership resulted in significant progress building out the Atlanta Beltline, new and improved coverage for MARTA’s transit network in the City, four successful referenda to fund water/sewer and transportation infrastructure, and the largest expansion of public transit in MARTA’s 40-year history. Despite the $250 million injection of infrastructure spending from Renew Atlanta and $300 million from the TSPLOST, Atlanta’s infrastructure backlog continues to need $1 billion in fixes. Kasim is proud of the progress we made together, but anyone who has been stuck in traffic or has damaged their car on a pothole knows there is more to do. Here are the core elements of Kasim’s plan to get Atlanta moving again:
- Re-establish timely tracking and repair of potholes & pave/resurface every major thoroughfare that is plagued with potholes.
- Coordinate with our federal, state, and regional partners to enhance MARTA, with a data-driven, equitable approach.
- Repair and overhaul Atlanta’s storm drainage system and eliminate excessive street flooding.
- Clear Atlanta’s sidewalk repair backlog and improve pedestrian mobility, particularly in transit corridors.
- Expand functionality of Beltline by prioritizing and developing clear funding sources for Beltline rail.
- Create the foundation for a light rail connecting the Clifton Corridor -- Lindbergh, Emory and the CDC.
- Update the City’s building code to require sustainable electric infrastructure.
- Work to eliminate the $1 billion infrastructure backlog and overhaul Atlanta’s public works procurement and contract implementation.
Our roads frankly have an embarrassing number of potholes that go unrepaired for too long. We need to do a better job of understanding where they are, what’s causing them and holding City Hall accountable for fixing them promptly.
Kasim has the state and national relationships to ensure that we can best leverage our local funds to attract billions more in federal investment, particularly considering the Biden Administration’s infrastructure plans.
More MARTA is one of Kasim’s proudest legacy accomplishments from his prior term, and an important example of why Atlanta needs a mayor with direct and deep relationships with the State. For too long, incessant bickering and NIMBYism in the region has paralyzed new transit funding proposals and kept Atlanta from expanding MARTA, even within the City. But in 2016, we broke that log-jam. We partnered with MARTA’s leadership team and persuaded the State to give the City the right to pursue its own ½ cent sales tax, now known as More MARTA, to begin to address the strong demand in the City for more transit options, and then to pass the referendum.
Kasim will continue to implement and improve upon the More MARTA plan, using a balanced and information-based approach to funding and construction decisions, and maximizing our ability to attract federal matching funds. Kasim will appoint diverse members to the MARTA Board of Directors who will work with our partners to lead, exercise independent judgement, and enhance MARTA.
Internally, we need to overhaul how Atlanta awards and monitors infrastructure spending. There are too many stories of late from contractors and civic organizations frustrated to the point of exhaustion with how long it takes to award contracts to do vital work, and then to ensure that the work is timely done and paid for. We’re losing competition on our bids, and thus paying higher prices, because of the delay and bureaucratic inefficiencies. Kasim will partner with Atlanta’s corporate sector to implement best procurement practices, so that infrastructure investments can be made in transparent, timely, and accountable ways.