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Atlanta Falcon fans walk from the Vine City Marta Station to the Atlanta Falcons NFC playoff game against the Seattle Seahawks in the Georgia Dome on Sunday, January 13, 2012. JOHNNY CRAWFORD / JCRAWFORD@AJC.COM

State Sen. Vincent Fort this week criticized a proposed pedestrian bridge connecting the Vine City MARTA station to the Atlanta Falcons’ new Mercedes-Benz Stadium as a “bridge for a billionaire” and said he wants to prohibit taxpayer money from being used to build it.

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Atlanta Falcon fans walk from the Vine City Marta Station to the Atlanta Falcons NFC playoff game against the Seattle Seahawks in the Georgia Dome on Sunday, January 13, 2012. JOHNNY CRAWFORD / JCRAWFORD@AJC.COM

The Democratic senator from Atlanta, who is also Minority Whip, said at a press briefing that he would file legislation to prevent the city of Atlanta from using public funds to pay for the bridge. He said a bill is currently being drafted and would be introduced in the next week or two.

The city has budgeted $8 million for the project from its general fund.

Fort said the money ought to be used to revitalize the Vine City and English Avenue neighborhoods instead of being used to pay for “a bridge for a billionaire.”

“It’s a bad idea whose time has not come,” Fort said.

City officials have released renderings of what the bridge to the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium, over Northside Drive to Vine City’s station, could look like. Mayor Kasim Reed has said the bridge will encourage fans to ride MARTA to the game. The bridge is also seen by supporters as a way to reconnect the Vine City and English Avenue neighborhoods to the thriving Centennial Olympic Park area.

Construction is expected to start this summer and the bridge is planned to open in mid-2017.


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