The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers — and Lake Lanier in particular — could be getting at least a small amount of money under the government’s 27-month transportation spending bill passed last July by Congress.
The Federal Lands Transportation Program is included in the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act, providing some $300 million for projects to improve access on federal lands, said Timothy A. Rainey, operations project manager at Lake Lanier.
The National Park Service and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service are designated to receive $270 million for ongoing programs.
The remaining $30 million will go to the corps, Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service.
“This is the first time these agencies have been included in [transportation funding] legislation,” Rainey said.
“Since this is new to us, we have to start from scratch in regards to collecting and providing the proper inventory data and condition assessments that [the Office of] Federal Lands Highway is looking for,” he said.
Lanier will be competing with other corps projects, as well as the other agencies, for a portion of the money.
“With Lake Lanier’s close proximity to Atlanta, high economic impact, high visitation and performance/efficiency scores, we feel good about our packages competing well enough to receive a portion of these funds,” Rainey said.
He wasn’t sure, however, when he would learn about funding.
Speaking at the Lake Lanier Association’s annual membership meeting in June, Rainey talked about public perception concerns if Lanier gets the money, which the corps could use for paving in park areas.
“What I don’t want you to see is [the corps has] reduced services, closed parks and they’re not cleaning the bathrooms, but they’re spending ... to pave Bald Ridge campground,” he said.
Because of budget issues, the corps has limited hours of operation at Sawnee Park in Forsyth County, as well as Duckett Mill, Bolding Mill and Van Pugh South parks, to between 7 a.m. Thursday and 3 p.m. Sunday every week.