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Atlanta Advocates Campaign to Set Aside Some Transit Funding to Keep Housing Affordable Near New Lines

“‘For 40 years, low wealth communities and communities of color… have subsidized MARTA,’ said Smith. ‘Without this affordable housing strategy, we’re actually positioning these people who have invested in MARTA and invested in the BeltLine to subsidize their own displacement. We can’t let that happen.’ . . .

“The Partnership for Southern Equity and a coalition of nonprofit groups wants to divert 5 percent of the MARTA funds, about $120 million, to establish a “Living Transit Fund,” which would scale up the agency’s efforts to finance subsidized housing near new transit routes. Developers could use the funding for land acquisition, pre-development costs, or construction costs if they deliver more below-market housing. . . .

“Smith doesn’t think this exact strategy of marrying transit funds directly to subsidized housing has been tried before (although advocates are looking at LA’s Metro Match program as a model). . . .

“Ultimately it’s a matter of ‘political courage,’ says Smith. ‘The big question is who are we developing the city for? People we’re trying to attract or also for the people that have been here through the hard times?'”

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