The parking lot just behind the Dougherty County Courthouse may be converted to a new multimodal transit center.
ALBANY — Albany City Commissioners tentatively voted 6-0 Tuesday to apply for $1.5 million in federal dollars for a controversial multimodal center.
The funding, according to City Manager James Taylor, is not site specific, meaning it could be used at the controversial site planned behind the downtown courthouse or at an alternative location, including the existing transit center on West Oglethorpe Boulevard.
The city is currently being sued by the owners of the existing transit station and the owners of properties near the proposed site to block construction of the $11 million project.
“What you’re saying is that a vote for this does not mean we are voting to have moneys for building at the new multimodal site. This money can be used for another site,” Albany Mayor Dorothy Hubbard asked Taylor during discussion.
“It can be used at any site. This an opportunity to get additional dollars. We would ask for permission to apply for those dollars and add them to the pot of money that already exists to apply to the multimodal center, wherever it’s built,” Taylor said.
According to city officials, the $1.5 million discussed Tuesday was earmarked in 2010 by Rep. Sanford Bishop, D-Albany, Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Atlanta, and Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Moultrie, but wasn’t included in the budget developed by the Georgia Department of Transportation and the city of Albany.
But in order for the money to be used on any site, the city has to apply for it from the federal government.
The money is separate from the stimulus funding that has already been allocated for the site and would go to fund the architectural and engineering plans that would need to be done for the project.
The transit center was nearly derailed last month when commissioners split on whether to fund a federally-mandated archeological study at the proposed site.