Atlanta Beltline, Inc. Southside Trail RAISE Grant Application

CLIENT: Atlanta BeltLine, Inc.

Purpose of Project

The Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. Southside Trail RAISE Grant Application was submitted in 2021, evaluating an additional 1.4 miles of shared-use trail for the Atlanta BeltLine. The grant was part of the USDOT’s $1 billion grant application funding opportunity, seeking to improve infrastructure across the United States. The grant was successful, securing $16.46 million in grant funding. Only 16% of the 2021 grant applicants received funding.

Our Role on the Project

As the lead consultant, MMP led all elements of the Benefit-Cost Analysis (BCA) portion of the RAISE grant, collecting necessary data, developing the methodology, and performing and documenting the BCA itself. Below are some highlights of how we provided additional value above and beyond the typical grant application:

  • Data Analytics

  • National Best Practices Research

  • Bike and Pedestrian Planning

  • Performance-Based Planning

  • Economic Impacts

  • Infrastructure Funding Strategy

Problem Solvers

Shortly after kicking off the plan update, MMP conducted a nationwide best practices search for alternative evaluation metrics to utilize for documenting the benefits of the grants. Typical USDOT grant benefits cater to vehicular traffic, such as travel time savings, operation cost savings, and air quality improvements. As such, MMP found benefits that were more in-line with a shared-use trail, such as health benefits for users and recreational benefits for walking and biking on the path. As a result, MMP was able to secure a higher Benefit-Cost Ratio (BCR) of 1.6, compared to the previous years BCR or 1.4. Additionally, unquantified benefits included reduced runoff from trail bioswales, improved connectivity from fiber installation on the trail, and reduced emissions from net increase in trees along the trail. Overall, the raise grant was successful from combined research to find the most applicable benefits, securing $16.46 million in funding.