Feds announce $200M for Georgia projects

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(The Center Square) — The federal government is sending more than $210 million for projects across the state, from building a park over downtown Atlanta’s Connector to removing a flyover ramp in Savannah.

The largest project is a $157.6 million Reconnecting Communities and Neighborhoods Grant award to jumpstart the first phase of construction of the Stitch, a four-acre park over Interstates 75 and 85.

“The Stitch has been a dream of the Downtown Atlanta community for 20 years,” Jack Cebe, Stitch development manager with the Atlanta Downtown Improvement District, said in an announcement.

The latest funding follows news that the feds are sending roughly $122.4 million to Georgia transit agencies. While most will go to transit agencies in Atlanta, Augusta-Richmond County, Columbus, Savannah and Chattanooga and Northwest Georgia, roughly $29.8 million will go to the Georgia Department of Transportation.

The “funds come to GDOT as the designated recipient … and are distributed to rural and small urban transit agencies in smaller localities based on GDOT’s annual application process and resulting awards,” a Georgia Department of Transportation spokesperson told The Center Square.

“A program of projects (POP) is developed that provides for the fair and equitable distribution of Federal funds within the State. The POP details how GDOT plans to distribute the $29.8M to rural and small urban areas in support of public transportation,” the spokesperson said. “It is anticipated that the POP will be completed [in] late March/early April.”

A study from personal finance company WalletHub found that Georgia ranked as the 20th most federally dependent state.

“After analyzing Georgia’s federal funding dynamics, it is evident that the state depends significantly on federal aid,” WalletHub analyst Cassandra Happe told The Center Square via email. “Approximately 43.03% of its revenue comes from federal funding, which is a significant portion of Georgia’s budget supported by federal contributions.

“However, Georgia’s return on taxes paid to the federal government stands at $0.71 for every $1 paid in taxes, placing it at 40th among the states. This suggests that although Georgia receives a notable amount in federal funding, there is room for improvement in maximizing the return on its taxpayers’ contributions,” Happe added. “Moreover, around 2.26% of the state’s workforce is employed by the federal government, which ranks Georgia at 15th in terms of federal job share. Overall, these insights highlight the intricate relationship between Georgia’s fiscal stability and its federal funding reliance.”

Happe said the federal dollars also “underscore areas for potential optimization and strategic allocation of resources,” adding that Peach State policymakers can further optimize “to enhance fiscal resilience and promote economic growth.”