In a press conference at the capitol, Gov. Nathan Deal, joined by members of a multijurisdictional, bipartisan partnership of elected officials and business leaders, applauded the districts for their commitment.
“This interchange is crucial to one of the metro region’s greatest economic engines. This project provides important economic and quality of life benefits,” said Deal. “It improves the movement of people and goods across and within the state, expands Georgia’s role as a major logistics hub for global commerce and assists in creating jobs and growing businesses. Due to limited resources, this model of partnership gives us the tools we need to facilitate major transportation projects.”
Said Perimeter CIDs President and CEO Yvonne Williams, “Improvements to the I-285 and Ga. 400 Interchange are the No. 1 priority for the Perimeter CIDs. The Perimeter CIDs have a track record of success in moving transportation projects forward through public-private partnerships,” citing the Hammond Drive half-diamond inter-change at 400, Georgia’s first diverging diamond interchange and the Perimeter Center Parkway Bridge across 285.
In another step to move the project forward, Perimeter CIDs Board Chairmen John Heagy and Chuck Altimari announced that the boards have approved the issuance of a $10 million bond for measurable project milestones. The Perimeter CIDs have also approved $500,000 to provide partnership building, research and support for the first phases of the interchange project.
“Improving the I-285 and Ga. 400 interchange is important for ensuring the economic vitality of the very desirable Perimeter market, the dominant office market in Metro Atlanta and an economic engine for the state,” said Altimari, chairman of the Fulton Perimeter CID and corporate real estate manager for UPS, whose global headquarters is located in Sandy Springs and within the district.
Central Perimeter is at the center of regional growth in metro Atlanta and one of the largest employment centers in the Southeast – larger than the downtowns of Charlotte, Nashville and Jacksonville. Of the more than 123,000 jobs in the area, nearly 90 percent are filled by commuters.
The Atlanta Regional Commission board has also voted to include $2 million in Metro Atlanta’s Transportation Improvement Plan this year to continue engineering project development for the interchange.
“This will position the project to be considered for advancement during the scheduled update of Metro Atlanta’s regional transportation plan and transportation improvement plan next year,” said Williams. “And, recent legislative changes will provide more flexibility in funding and construction for the project.”
The Georgia Department of Transportation is currently developing a cost-efficient plan for interchange improvements. GDOT expects a federal environmental decision in 2015 for the entire Revive 285 project.
I-285 and Ga. 400 partnership members include the following: the Perimeter CID boards of directors (both Central (DeKalb) and Fulton), the cities of Brookhaven, Chamblee, Doraville, Dunwoody and Sandy Springs, the Council for Quality Growth and the Dunwoody and Sandy Springs/Perimeter chambers of commerce.
It has letters of support from U.S. Sens. Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson, U.S. Reps. Lynn Westmoreland, Tom Price, Phil Gingrey, Hank Johnson and John Lewis, Fulton County Commission Chairman John Eaves and the Georgia Chamber of Commerce.