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More than $350k spent on Multimodal center

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.

Comments

waltspecht 2 years, 6 months ago

Which relative or friend of which Commisioner owns the bus station?

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whattheheck 2 years, 6 months ago

The bus station is owned by Destiny Travel, Orlando Rambo. Capitol City Bank is also involved, John Hayes, Co Commissioner, is a VP with them..

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jglass 2 years, 6 months ago

OMGOODNESS, WHY does Albany waste soooooo much money. Where does all of this money come from? I know my taxes are high, but GOOD GRIEF. Albany, PLEASE STOP WASTING money ALL the time!!!!

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TrixibelleBento 2 years, 6 months ago

The $350K could not be avoided. When you build something like this for a governmental agency, they require all sorts of studies to support where you should build it, whether that site is archaelogically sensitive, whether it would affect the environment, whether there are any historical ramifications, etc. If the City leaders at the time wanted this building, they had to do the leg-work to support its idea.

Yes, it's not fun, but it's required. Government red tape is alive and well and is VERY expensive. If the City stops the project, they're not getting that money back. It was just sunk into an idea that didn't get off the ground. Yes, it's a waste, but the folks making the big decisions just didn't either understand what they were getting into or just stopped caring about the idea after a while.

Renovate the current building for a fraction of the cost and move on.

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dingleberry 2 years, 6 months ago

I would like to know how much of the $350K went to John I Rivers of Columbus,who has an artist rendering of the building on his website. I would also like to know what was wrong with the initial plan which sounds like it was just for bus use, around $2 million I think, before it was blown up to include shops and parking decks and possible rail. We went from something that sounded like it made so sense to the $9 million monster that doesn't.

One thing govt is great at doing is overlooking--intentionally--operating costs for a facility. What is the proposed after construction costs for this project--the continuing taxpayer annual burden?

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Amazed2 2 years, 6 months ago

dingleberry thanks for mentioning John I Rivers. I had heard that he was involved but nobody with the City or County has mentioned his name. Guess ol Wes Smith during his news releases has been dancing and tip toeing around the involvement of John I Rivers. Mr. Rivers has apparently been involved on behalf of the City and I assume maybe the County. The City does not want anyone to know he is involved in this project to. I wonder why they are trying to keep this quiet??????????????

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dingleberry 2 years, 6 months ago

Mighty good question, Amazed2. Not sure who all his friends are but he seems to have plenty when Federal money is around--in Albany at least.

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whattheheck 2 years, 6 months ago

Is $350K all that has been spent on this albatross so far or just the amount that went into "research and studies"--likely far from total expenditures. And for the record, what types of transportation are we including in "Multimodal"?

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Amazed2 2 years, 6 months ago

In regards to John I Rivers he is supposedly a good friend of Wille Adams so I guess that is how he got involved in the project. Wes Smith why have you been trying to keep this quiet!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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chinaberry25 2 years, 2 months ago

Most everything that Albany has done has been kept quiet. Must be one reason Willie Adams did not run again. Too much of a challenge for the the glory and money involved. Why do they need shops in the bus station? They have enough vacant building in downtown Albany, we do not need to add more. Another clothing boutique or jewelry peddlers.

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