Major infrastructure projects are often proposed for neighborhoods where property values are low, said Neill Herring, a lobbyist for the Georgia Sierra Club.
"This is a federal law that protects everybody's neighborhood as if it were Buckhead," Herring said. "Removing that protection is criminal, particularly given the current dialogue on race in this country."
State Sen. Nikema Williams, the head of the Democratic Party of Georgia, slammed Trump for visiting Atlanta to trumpet a campaign promise rather than check in with people suffering from COVID-19.
"We know that this is just another attempt to cover his broken promises as our roads continue to crumble and the country braces for the heavy economic impact of COVID-19," Williams told reporters.
Trump's first Atlanta appearance since March set off political maneuvering from Republicans eager for a share of his attention -- and an awkward scene on the tarmac between rival Georgia GOP factions backing U.S. Rep. Doug Collins and U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler.
Gov. Brian Kemp shared what appeared to be polite but not overly friendly words with Collins, who is running for the U.S. Senate against Loeffler, the governor's hand-picked selection for the seat.
When Trump emerged from Air Force One, he shared warm greetings with Kemp and Collins, who stood near the president's waiting vehicle. Collins' interaction with Loeffler, who followed the president off the plane after flying in with him from Washington, was more terse -- and quick.
Still, Trump betrayed little about which candidate he supports in the November special election.
He called Loeffler a "good person, a good woman," adding "she's been so supportive of me." As for Collins, Trump framed him as an "incredible spokesman and an incredible man and friend."
Trump glossed over the rift he opened with Kemp in April, when the president criticized his ally for rolling back coronavirus restrictions in Georgia prematurely.