As part of the $1.7 trillion omnibus spending bill passed in December, Congressman Hank Johnson (D-GA) earmarked $3.6 million to extend the Michelle Obama Trail outside of Atlanta.
The hiking trail was constructed in 2018, and originally spanned 3.8 miles, connecting Georgia State University’s Clarkston campus to Gresham Park, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution. It was extended another 2.2 miles in 2021.
The federal funds will go toward another extension: 4.5 miles that will connect Waldrop Road to Martin Luther King Jr. High School. Eventually, the county hopes the trail will connect with the proposed Michelle Obama Park, and join a network of nearly 22 miles of trails as part of the local PATH project.
While the details of the new trail construction are unclear, previous stretches of the trail cost $3.9 million and included a “12-foot-wide path primarily consisting of concrete and sections of a wooden boardwalk and two steel truss bridges,” according to a county press release. Prior funding for this project came from local sources, like the Dekalb County government where the trail is located.
Rep. Johnson secured a total of $15 million in earmarks for his district, including $4 million for a youth facility, $1.5 million for the “Memorial Drive Gateways project,” and $400,000 for Georgia State University for programs to “expand access to postsecondary education, including English language proficiency support.”
This hiking trail project should be funded locally like it has been for years.
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