LCI Mid-Year 2010 Breaking Ground Report notable increase in projects that have moved into construction

The ARC Board established the Livable Centers Initiative (LCI) program in 1999. The Livable Centers Initiative (LCI) is a program that encourages local jurisdictions to plan and implement strategies that link transportation improvements with land use development strategies to create sustainable, livable communities consistent with regional development policies.   

Planning grants are awarded on a competitive basis to local governments and non-profit organizations to prepare plans for the enhancement of existing centers and corridors. The ARC Board has approved $13 million in study funds – $1 million annually – for use in years 2000 to 2012. The ARC Board also approved an initial allocation of $350 million for priority funding of transportation projects resulting from Livable Centers Initiative studies. An additional $150 million has since been approved for these projects, for a total commitment of $500 million dedicated to transportation projects resulting from completed LCI studies.  

  

ARC tracks the progress of LCI transportation projects monthly, and twice a year a detailed breaking ground report of progress is completed to classify project status. The July 2010 Breaking Ground Report was recently completed by ARC staff, and will soon be posted on ARC’s website.  

A few highlights from the report

The first year of funding of LCI transportation projects was FY 2003, and to date approximately $120 million is currently allocated for the preliminary engineering, right-of-way acquisition, and construction of 89 projects found in 47 LCI communities.  

The majority (65%) of LCI transportation projects that are allocated funds through ARC are considered Pedestrian Facilities – sidewalks, ADA improvements, crosswalks, pedestrian crossing islands, and streetscape projects in general. These funds are also used for bike facilities, multi-use facilities, transit projects and roadway operations. 

Implementation funds are not used for simply road expansion or maintenance, but instead aim to make a study area more livable, walkable and safer for the pedestrian. Projects that provide access to a range of travel modes in the study area, including transit, roadways, walking and biking, have the best likelihood of being funded through the program.  

In the past six months there has been a notable increase in projects that have moved into construction. Since February 2010, 13 LCI transportation projects have been let to construction, and another 5 projects have been authorized to bid and have had construction funds authorized. This is significant, as only 49 projects total have been authorized for construction since the LCI program began. 

This increased progress is likely attributable to two factors: half of these 18 projects received American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds which expedited approvals, and secondly, the change in ARC’s role in 2008 from general program oversight to hands-on project management, thus helping to keep projects on schedule. 

You can read more about the Atlanta Regional Commission’s Livable Centers Initiative on ARC’s website

And click here to see where LCI areas are located throughout the region (must have Google Earth installed).

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