Commissioners select existing bus terminal as multimodal site

A bus enters the Albany Transportation Center on Oglethorpe Blvd. / Jessica Fairley

Albany's Board of Commissioners held a special called meeting Tuesday morning to select a preferred alternative site for the proposed Multimodal Site.

Commissioners made a vote and selected site B, the current home of the bus terminal station on Oglethorpe, as the preferred Multimodal Site.

The city will be able to save money by deciding on a site without a recommendation from a consultant.

Assistant City Manager Wes Smith says all cities have to be evaluated, however by selecting a preferred site, that location will get the most focus.

During the meeting, Commissioner Tommy Postell stated that he doesn't want to end up in the same situation that the city has in the past where they put money into sites and the plan fell through. He feels it's not a good idea to choose one site and focus more on that site.

City Manager James Taylor reassured the board and community members that all sites will be ranked and if all meet requirements, then they will do a detailed assessment of the preferred site.

Mayor Pro Tem Tommy Postell and Commissioner Jon Howard voted against choosing the existing Oglethorpe site, site B, as the preferred site. All other commissioners voted for the selection.

The current multimodal site on Oglethorpe was originally not included in selections because of lack of space, however since the city has acquired land around the facility in Little Harlem it can be used.

The cost of all three environmental studies for the sites will cost the city about $250,000.

Site B, the current bus station on Oglethorpe, was selected as the preferred sites because of its proximity to the central downtown area.

Smith says just because site B is the preferred site does not mean it will be the final choice. But he says that it is likely that that location will be chosen for the new Multimodal Site.

Also during the meeting, commissioners voted to place a three percent tax on those who rent cars within Albany city limits. This tax will generate $179,000 per year for the city.

"A large portion of the tax will come from outside sources and people who will come to town and rent cars in the area. So it will help the city a great deal," said Albany Commissioner Ivy Hines.

City officials say implementing this tax may keep taxes from raising across the board.