City of Atlanta voters have approved the $250 million infrastructure bond referendum, although results from the Fulton County Elections Office show turnout was extremely low. Only 20,762 people cast ballots yesterday, but more than 88 percent of those were in favor of the bonds.
The bonds will pay for repair and upgrades to bridges, roads, sidewalks, bike lanes and public buildings, although it will be a very small dent in the nearly $1 billion backlog of projects.
Voters saw two items on the March 17 ballot: one for $187 million in bonds for transportation projects and a second pay for $64 million in bonds to upgrade municipal facilities.
The referendum passed despite there being no finalized list of projects. That list is expected to be approved in April by the Atlanta City Council.
City Councilmember Yolanda Adrean told last week’s meeting of the Buckhead Council of Neighborhoods that she was frustrated that a final list of projects wasn’t available before the vote.
“I apologize to the voters,” Adrean said. “It’s been very frustrating to me. We have reached agreements on projects and the councilmembers have their own internal lists of projects, but those were not updated on the [bond infrastructure] website for voters.”
The website is infrastructuremap.org.
Adrean said each councilmember would get $5.2 million in their discretionary fund from the bonds to help with projects in their districts.
“There’s an opportunity to leverage dollars and partner on projects,” Adrean said.
At it’s March 16 meeting, the city council voted unanimously to create an oversight committee for the $250 million bond package. The 13-member committee will hold public hearings at least once per quarter to review the status of projects. The council also voted for an independent audit of the projects to be conducted throughout the 20-year lifespan of the bonds.