Project Funding

Securing Economic Resources to Get the Project Done

The Atlanta BeltLine is transforming neighborhoods and residents’ lives with new green space, mobility and affordable housing options and opportunities. In the process, it is creating the opportunity for healthier and more economically prosperous lives. Atlantans are gaining greater access to employment centers, fresh foods, and healthcare.

The plan for the Atlanta BeltLine includes:

  • the introduction of a 22-mile transit system
  • 33-mile trail network
  • 1,300 acres of new and 700 acres of restored greenspace
  • public art
  • historic preservation
  • 28,000 new and 5,600 affordable housing units
  • 50,000 permanent and 48,000 construction jobs
  • up to $10 billion in total projected economic development

Learn more about Atlanta BeltLine Project Goals.

Economic Impact

The Atlanta BeltLine has helped attract more than $8.2 billion dollars in private development as of the end of 2020. Approximately $670 million has been invested in the project’s delivery from 2005 to 2021, representing a positive return on investment of over 10-to-1.

How the Project is Funded

A project of the scope and scale of the Atlanta BeltLine requires numerous sources of funding. The Atlanta BeltLine is scheduled to be complete in 2030 at an estimated cost of $4.8 billion.

Major capital investments like the Atlanta BeltLine require diverse funding sources. The Strategic Implementation Plan adopted in 2013 lays out a framework for how the project will be funded through a mix of public and private sources – including:

  • the Atlanta BeltLine Tax Allocation District (TAD)
  • the City of Atlanta
  • private investment and philanthropic contributions
  • county, regional, state and federal grants
  • public private partnerships

How can funds be used?
The Bonds and Tax Allocation District (TAD) funds are the most flexible sources and can be used for a variety of programmatic and general management needs in addition to planning and capital improvement projects. They often serve as required match funding to secure grants from other sources. All other funding sources are secured and restricted for specific planning and capital improvement projects such as land acquisition, park and trail development, streetscape improvements, affordable housing and transit. They cannot be used for purposes other than those specified in the grant.

How the Atlanta BeltLine has been Funded to Date
Approximately $670 million from multiple public and private sources has been invested between 2005 and 2021 to implement the Atlanta BeltLine and deliver tangible results – including 16 miles of new permanent trails, 315 acres of new and renewed parks and greenspaces, over 396 acres of remediated brownfields, and new and diverse affordable housing opportunities.

In March 2021, Atlanta City Council approved legislation to create the Atlanta BeltLine Special Service District (SSD), providing approximately $100 million towards completing the Atlanta BeltLine’s 22-mile multi-use trail loop. This new funding source, coupled with an additional $110 million in philanthropic dollars, $100 million in TAD funding, and $50 million in federal and state grants, will ensure the completion of the trail corridor by 2030 and will also enable $45 million in additional affordable housing funds, $12 million in additional small business support, and up to $150 million in construction funds targeted towards minority-owned contractors.

Atlanta BeltLine Tax Allocation District (TAD) Details

When the TAD was created in 2004, many properties along the proposed Atlanta Beltline were underutilized and generated marginal tax revenue. In 2005, Atlanta Public Schools (APS), the City of Atlanta and Fulton County agreed to forego future property tax revenue increases on these properties over the next 25 years and dedicate them to building out the Atlanta BeltLine. With new investment, the once-underutilized properties increase in value and generate more tax revenue – which is used to secure bond funding that pays for more Atlanta BeltLine investments. Building more of the Atlanta BeltLine generates more development which generates even more tax revenue.

At the end of the 25-year TAD, the Atlanta BeltLine is projected to increase the tax value by $20 billion dollars, which will benefit APS, Fulton County and the City of Atlanta for many years to come. All parties assumed the risks and potential rewards in the development of the Atlanta BeltLine when they agreed to participate in the TAD.

The Original Atlanta BeltLine TAD Funding Structure
Rather than forego its full share of future property tax revenue increases during the 25-year TAD, APS negotiated to receive fixed cash payments from the TAD. These payments totaled $150 million – or 5% of the total $3 billion in projected tax revenues expected to be generated over the life of the TAD. Payments were intentionally deferred during the first five years of the TAD to accelerate Atlanta BeltLine development, and the 5% was scheduled to be paid out at an annual fixed payment of $7.5 million per year during years 6-25.

Fulton County negotiated to receive much smaller payments of $1.35 million per year during years 6-25. The City of Atlanta did not negotiate to receive any payments.

Projected Revenue Generated from TAD
In 2005 – as part of the Atlanta BeltLine Redevelopment Plan – Huntley & Associates originally projected the Atlanta BeltLine TAD would generate approximately $3 billion in tax revenue over its 25-year life.

In 2012, following the Great Recession – and as part of the development of the Strategic Implementation Plan – MuniCap completed a revised TAD projection that indicated the TAD was no longer going to achieve the original 2005 projection of $3 billion, but instead would approach $1.4 billion for the remainder of the life of the TAD (2012-2030).

Since then, MuniCap makes only five-year projections of Atlanta BeltLine TAD revenue. As of February 2015, Atlanta Beltline TAD revenue for 2015-2019 is projected to be $123.3 million.

View chart that shows the changes in Tax Increment Projections.

Revenue Generated from TAD to Date
The Atlanta BeltLine TAD has generated $124 million since its creation in 2005 through 2014. Of this increment, APS collected $28 million or greater than 20% of the total. Fulton County received payments totaling $5.4 million from the Atlanta BeltLine TAD. The City of Atlanta has not received any payments from the Atlanta BeltLine TAD.

Changes to TAD

The original agreement with Fulton County and the City of Atlanta remains intact.

In 2009, the Atlanta BeltLine TAD agreement with Atlanta Public Schools was amended. The first payment to Atlanta Public Schools was postponed to 2013 and the payment schedule was modified. The first payment of $1.95 million was made in 2013. In December 2015, the City of Atlanta paid $9.1 million to Atlanta Public Schools on behalf of ABI.