ALBANY — A letter obtained by The Albany Herald Thursday shows that $350,000 has already been spent on research and studies needed to build a new transit center.
City commissioners expressed reservations Tuesday about moving forward with the planned $9 million center after city staffers sought to award a $590,000 contract for required archaeological work on the proposed downtown site.
In response to a request made under the Georgia Open Records Act, city officials furnished a letter outlining how much money has been spent on the project and what would happen if commissioners were to abandon the project.
According to that document, six different studies and research programs have been conducted on the project totaling roughly $350,000.
Additionally, the Federal Transit Administration pays Destiny Transportation — the owners of the bus station on Oglethorpe Boulevard — $90,000 per year.
But the document warns that abandoning or reconsidering the current project would jeopardize the $6 million that the federal government has invested in the project, and would like prompt the FTA to stop paying the lease on the current bus station.
“If the City of Albany elects not to proceed with the multimodal facility at the selected location, it is fully expected that all ARRA (Stimulus) Funds will be forfeited... FTA is not expected to continue to reimburse the 90 percent facility lease. Thus, the General Fund would be expected to absorb that full cost, an addition of approximately $81,000,” the document states.
Some on the commission expressed concerns over whether the proposed site — between Roosevelt Avenue and Flint Avenue in what is now a parking lot — is the best for the transit center, when property owners, constituents and the public have been critical.
One alternative could be to do what Chatham Transit Authority did in Savannah.
That body had been trying to build a new transit center for 15 years, according to The Savannah Morning News and when their proposed site fell through because of regulatory issues, the authority paid $5.3 million for their Greyhound bus station and renovated it to make it function at a multimodal center.