But that’s a fraction of what’s to come. Georgia will get $8.9 billion for highway construction and $1.4 billion for public transportation over five years. It will receive hundreds of millions more for work to include building electric vehicle charging stations, cleaning water and expanding broadband internet.
The state could get even more through competitive grant programs. One example: MARTA recently received $19.3 million for electric buses and related equipment.
“It’s difficult to overstate the significance of this legislation,” said Anna Roach, executive director of the Atlanta Regional Commission, which sponsored the conference. “Who knows if we’ll see another investment like this in our lifetimes.”
There’s no shortage of projects that could benefit. Fernandez cited MARTA’s plans for the Southlake bus rapid transit line in Clayton County, as well as its renovation of Five Points station.
Local officials are eager for the investment. Matthew Lee, executive director of the Tucker-Northlake Community Improvement District, believes metro Atlanta will be able to get its share of federal funding if the leaders speak with one voice.
“We’re moving away from operating in silos and becoming more unified,” Lee said.