The expansive Beltline transit and parkspace development planned for Atlanta is being hindered by one man's lawsuits over the legality of the funding used to build it.
"The project, which promises to transform a largely forgotten freight rail corridor into a showpiece loop of transit, trails, parks and new development, has captured the city's imagination and stands to become a legacy of Mayor Shirley Franklin's administration."
"But a significant obstacle remains in the Beltline's way. His name is John Woodham."
"Woodham, a little-known 41-year-old Buckhead real estate lawyer, has filed a series of legal challenges and appeals that have tied up the Beltline in court for the past year and a half."
"In a June 2006 lawsuit, Woodham argues the Beltline violates a provision of the state constitution he says mandates that school property taxes be spent only on education-related projects. More than $850 million in school property taxes are projected to be spent on the Beltline during the next 25 years."
"Lawyers for the city say the Beltline funding mechanism is legal, citing a different part of the state constitution that allows for the creation of tax allocation districts like the one funding the Beltline."