ATLANTA -- More than 300,000 motorists travel through the interchange between Georgia 400 and I-285 every day, making it one of the most congested interchanges in metro Atlanta.
"I avoid it as much as I can," said Anna Trad of Cobb County. "I end up going a longer way to work just because you can sit there for quite a long time trying to get through it."
Political and engineering solutions have been equally slow. The intersection was a priority in the regional transportation SPLOST that voters turned down last summer.
So an incremental step toward improving that interchange got big-news treatment at the Capitol, when Governor Deal and fourteen other officials shared a podium to announcing that a community improvement district would contribute ten million dollars toward remaking 400 and 285.
"To me this is a catalyst to move things forward," said former DeKalb CEO Liane Levetan, a member of the Atlanta Regional Commission.
It was ten million dollars for a project that could cost eventually a half billion dollars.
The governor ducked out by the time questions were allowed, leaving the local officials to speculate about the availability of state funding.
"There will be creative solutions brought to the table in the near term," said Yvonne Williams, president of the Perimeter CID, which contributed the funding. "We're bringing something forward that was going to be long term, so that's the big news today."
Backers say the new seed money will advance the project by at least seven years. How the state will actually fund the work remains a work in progress.
A spokesman for Gov. Deal referred us to Toby Carr of the Transportation Department. Carr wrote:
"The GA 400/I-285 interchange project is a priority for the state, and we continue to work toward identifying full funding for it. Today's events illustrate both the public and private support that the project has. We hope to be able to move quickly into the right-of-way acquisition and construction phases once the necessary federal approvals occur sometime in calendar year 2015."