As your Mayor, I have made it a priority to make critical updates to the City of Atlanta’s infrastructure. And as Atlanta residents, you responded last March by overwhelmingly approving our $250 million infrastructure bond initiative, the single most significant infrastructure investment in modern times, an investment that will improve the look, feel and experience of our city.
Atlanta now stands ready to begin the process of clearing a more than $900 million infrastructure backlog that had threatened to grow to between $1.5 billion and $2 billion if we left it unchecked. Instead, you acted.
And your action will allow us to make improvements across the City of Atlanta that will improve quality of life for all our residents.
We will synchronize thousands of traffic lights to make commutes easier, replace and repair bridges to connect communities, upgrade fire stations, police stations and recreation centers across the city and replace thousands of street lights to make neighborhoods safer.
We will also resurface Atlanta’s major roads, repair city streets with a Complete Streets approach that addresses curbs, sidewalks, bike lanes, crossing signals, ADA ramps all to decrease congestion, improve mobility and provide transportation options. I am excited about all of the improvements soon to come to Atlanta.
When I came to voters earlier this year asking for your support for the infrastructure bond, I did not come lightly. My Administration has spent four years getting the city’s financial house in order. We closed a $48 million dollar budget gap in the first year.
We now have more than $138 million in the bank – growing the city reserves from just $7.4 million in the bank when I first came into office.We have passed five straight balanced budgets, proving that we can do more with less.
We are implementing recommendations from the blue ribbon panel of business, city and labor leaders that reduce waste and improve efficiency in government to the tune of $15-17 million in savings each year.
And, finally, let me point out that your property taxes have not been raised in five years. In fact, the FY2015 city budget included a rollback in the property tax rate.
This important work has resulted in the city’s strongest credit rating in at least 12 years. We are in a position now to pay the total debt service – principle AND interest – on these bonds without requiring one additional penny from taxpayers.
We could not be in a better position to take on this challenge. Let’s Go Atlanta. We are just getting started.