The Flight Paths project was selected by a committee about a decade ago, but was delayed amid the economic downturn. The early price tag of $1.3 million ballooned to nearly $4 million, including about $2 million for electrical work.
The project, expected to be completed by January 2014, would be funded as part of Atlanta's public art master plan setting aside 1 percent of certain spending for art.
Airport officials estimate after Flight Paths, about $1 million will be left for art, with more allocated as construction continues.
Some believe the art can encourage travelers to walk between concourses. Hartsfield-Jackson general manager Louis Miller estimated 80 percent or more ride the people-mover trains, but the airport in conjunction with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention plans to put up signs encouraging people to walk.