Mayor Kasim Reed highlighted the upcoming March 17 infrastructure bond referendum during this morning’s annual State of the City address. He also hyped the city’s banner year in business relocation, business creation and new development at the breakfast hosted by the Coca-Cola Company.
The city has a $900 million backlog in fixing roads, bridges, sidewalks and buildings and the $252 million referendum will go toward reducing that number, Reed said. Public hearings on the referendum continue this month.
“Amid the most difficult financial crisis in over 80 years, we rolled up our sleeves, turned into the fire, and worked through the hardships to set Atlanta on a path to new levels of prosperity,” Reed said. “We’ve seen a convergence of business relocation, business creation and new development that shows our city is getting stronger and stronger every single day.”
Reed cited NCR’s recent announcement of plans to move it’s headquarters to Midtown and the new Porsche headquarters near the airport as examples of Atlanta’s resurgent growth.
Also on the mayor’s agenda: expanding the Atlanta Streetcar east to connect with the Atlanta BeltLine’s Eastside Trail and the transformation of the old Bellwood Quarry site into a reservoir and public park that would be larger than Piedmont Park. He did not discuss how these projects will be funded.
Mayor Reed also highlighted major accomplishments of his first five years in office:
• Five years of balanced budgets – with no property tax increases – that resulted in growing the city’s cash reserves from $7.4 million in 2010 to more than $138 million dollars;
• Consistent upgrades to the city’s bond rating by Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s;
• Continued development and expansion of the Atlanta BeltLine;
• Expansion of Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta International Airport with new international terminal;
• Launch of Women’s Entrepreneurship Initiative to support and empower women business owners;
• Installation of Google Fiber network throughout Atlanta to provide access to ultra-high-speed internet;
• Creation of Welcoming Atlanta Working Group to foster a welcoming environment for all individuals regardless of race, ethnicity, or place of origin.
“A successful Atlanta is one where everyone shares in Atlanta’s success,” Reed said. “I believe that Atlanta will not simply lead Georgia or the Southeast, but that Atlanta will lead the United States and then the world.”