Bridge to MARTA from new Falcons stadium rankles lawmaker

Plans to build a new pedestrian bridge connecting the Vine City MARTA station to the Atlanta Falcons’ new Mercedes-Benz Stadium drew opposition Wednesday from State Sen. Vincent Fort.

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Atlanta Falcon fans walk from the Vine City Marta Station to the Atlanta Falcons NFC playoff game against the Seattle Seahawks in the Georgia Dome on Sunday, January 13, 2012. JOHNNY CRAWFORD / JCRAWFORD@AJC.COM

The Democratic senator from Atlanta, who is also Minority Whip, said at a press briefing that he would file legislation to prevent the public from paying for the bridge. He said a bill is currently being drafted and would be filed in the next week or two.

The city of Atlanta has budgeted $8 million for the project and is currently evaluating proposals from construction firms seeking to build the project.

Fort said the money ought to be used to revitalize the Vine City and English Avenue neighborhoods instead of being used to pay for “a bridge for a billionaire.”

“It’s a bad idea whose time has not come,” Fort said.

City officials have released renderings of what the bridge to the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium, over Northside Drive to Vine City’s station, would look like. Mayor Kaim Reed has said the bridge will encourage fans to ride MARTA to the game. The bridge is also seen by supporters as a way to reconnect the Vine City and English Avenue neighborhoods to Centennial Olympic Park.

Construction is expected to start this summer and the bridge is planned to open in mid-2017.

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