Fayette awaits fate of road wish list for regional sales tax vote

Both phases of the East Fayetteville Bypass and the widening of several state highways through Fayette County are some of the many projects initially pitched for potential funding through a 10-year regional transportation sales tax.

Those projects, and more, have been submitted by both Fayette County and other counties in the 10-county metro Atlanta region. They will first be vetted by the Georgia Department of Transportation, and the final say on funding rests with the 21-member Regional Transportation Roundtable, on which Fayette has two representatives: County Commission Chairman Herb Frady and Fayetteville Mayor Ken Steele.

Among the highway widening projects on the list for potential regional funding are:

• Ga. Highway 54 east of Fayetteville from two to four lanes from McDonough Road eastward to U.S. Highway 19/41 (Tara Boulevard) in Jonesboro. The project would replace bridges over the Flint River and Camp Creek, along with adding bike lanes and sidewalks to that section of the road.

• Ga. Highway 85 south of Fayetteville from two to four lanes from Bernhard Road to Grady Avenue. The submittal form notes that traffic on Hwy. 85 becomes congested between Ramah Road and Grady Avenue.

• Ga. Highway 92 south of Fayetteville from two to four lanes from Jimmie Mayfield Boulevard to McBride Road. The submittal notes that this part of Hwy. 92 has “heavy delays” during morning and afternoon commuting times due to traffic volumes and a large number of subdivision and side street entrances.

• Ga. Highway 279 north of Fayetteville from two to four lanes between Hwys. 92 and 138.

Also on tap are “operational improvements” instead of road widening for Hwy. 85 south from Bernhard Road to Ga. Highway 74 south.

In Peachtree City, officials are looking for intersection improvements to Ga. Highway 54 and Commerce Drive, along with a cart path to connect the new Flat Creek bridge with the southern end of the industrial park and also the city’s baseball and soccer complex. A tunnel to serve such a path is being built underneath Hwy. 74 as part of the road-widening project.

The city has also proposed a path that would go north from the Flat Creek bridge to connect with the Braelinn Village shopping center on Crosstown Drive.

Another path project on the list is the “gateway” bridge over Hwy. 54 West that would connect the southern end of MacDuff Parkway with the Shoppes at the Village Piazza shopping center, and also the Line Creek Nature Area.

The city is also looking for intersection improvements on Peachtree Parkway to improve the level of service, mitigate accidents and add bike and pedestrian improvements where needed.

Other intersection work on the list is for Robinson Road where it intersects with Ga. Highway 54, Crosstown Drive and Redwine Road.

Local officials are also seeking funding for the realignment of Hood Avenue and Ga. Highway 92, a project for which the Fayette County Commission recently voted to build using local SPLOST funds from the 2003 Fayette County Transportation Sales Tax.

In Tyrone, officials want funding to widen and resurface Castlewood Road which connects Fayette and Coweta Counties.

Tyrone is also eyeing a 6.2 mile multi-use path along Tyrone Road between Hwy. 54 and Senoia Road.

Other projects of note affecting Fayette County:

• Widening McDonough Road to four lanes, adding sidewalks and bike lanes and replacing the bridge over the Flint River. A recent evaluation of the bridge “indicated a serious decline in the structural integrity of the bridge requiring weight limit posting and maintenance/repairs.”

• The widening of Ga. Highway 85 in Clayton County from four to six lanes from Ga. Highway 279 in Fayette County to Roberts Drive.

BHH
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Something is going on that no one is explaining here.

If we try to fund these projects on our own then the state will assist with only 10% of the needed funds. If we participate through a (any) region the state will chip in 30% of the funds needed for each project.

Fayette county's contribution to the regional 1% tax is expected to be just over 200 million dollars. The region will return 15%. I'm not sure if it is 15% of our 200 million or 15% of the regions expected take of over 700 million.

Either way we lose funds because 15% of either figure is less than 200 million even when you add back the state's 30% contribution.

Any other factors are still hidden at this point except that our county reps get to boost their egos by playing with the big boys and their 700 million dollars.

hutch866
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BHH

I've got to wonder where you get all your facts, do you just make them up or pull them out of your...well, you know? Now according to you, this tax will raise 700 million, and we'll contribute 200 million of it, so then the rest of the counties, who are many times our size ( Fulton, DeKalb, Clayton, just for example) Fulton over a million people, DeKalb 747,000, Clayton over 273,000 So in just three counties we're over 2 million people with a few counties to go, then we have Fayette around 107,000 people, and you say Fayette's going to supply over 30% of the money this tax will raise? Please, share the source of your information, of course if it's where I think you're getting it, please wipe it off first.

BHH
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I appologize, the 700 million figure is from a bad source.

It's 7.8 billion which still does not compute with the other figures given in the article at http://www.thecitizen.com/articles/01-26-2011/fville-mayor-steele-%E2%80... so I'll keep researching.
The 46 million in this article is not explained as to how they arrived at it.

How does giving up 200 million to get 46 million make sense?

Woody
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What idiots keep us in that regional commission?

How did we get into this and how do we get out of it? I don't want these projects, especially if we have to get approval from other counties. I don't want to increase my sales tax to fund projects elsewhere or that I feel are a waste of money. Can we join another regional commission?

Robert W. Morgan
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You and Haddix have the same idea, woodman

He wanted to join some minor league regional commission and resign from ARC, but they resigned him instead. I don't think changing groups changes the fact that most of our residents commute through 1 or 2 or even 3 of the counties closer to Atlanta and that we are using their roads creating wear and tear and traffic - and sometimes public safety issues.

If we could just resign from ARC, tax ourselves 1% and pay for 100% of the projects on the wish list and not owe anything to anyone else, I'm sure it would have been done. It is much more complicated than that as Mr. Haddix discovered.

BHH
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Morgan, when you say

"most of our residents commute" you are helping to perpetrate this hoax. Most of Fayette county residents do not commute much less commute outside the county.
Now if you are referring to PTC residents it doesn't concern me or most of the county.
You all have your route north out of the county (hwy 74) and what you do from there is up to the other jurisdiction to handle their traffic problems.
Any fool can see our involvement in the ARC or that region will change none of that significantly.

The reason for involvement in any regional system is tied to state funding of the few things our county (and PTC's precious cart bridge) wants. There seems to be lately always more going on behind the scenes than any representative wants to reveal or discuss.

Most of the things on our wish list were already in the works through our own local 1 cent tax but there seems to be a shortfall of funds to accomplish them in a reasonable time frame.

BHH
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Morgan, Why didn't they solicite suggestions?

By "they" I mean Fayette County Administrators.

One of my favorite things to do is make suggestions, but as I can recall no one asked for them.

I'm also very steamed about the storm water utility RIP-OFF they are trying to perpetrate.

Robert W. Morgan
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They didn't ask about road improvements we wanted for sure

but I really want to know who "they" is. County Commission? A staffer? The cities? That list looks like it was drawn up by commuters from Clayton County.

The storm water train you are steamed about has left the station. Additional taxation without going through all that tedious meeting, voting, etc. $45 per house for that, another $40 per house for increased sewer and about 10,000 houses here - bingo $1million - every year. Pretty slick isn't it?

BHH
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The whole process is flawed.

I remember something about a meeting with the ARC that included public input but I don't think that was exactly what it should have been if it was meant for this purpose.

I'm not in PTC. I'm in Brooks now but was in unincorporated Fayette for 24 yrs. before moving here. I don't think Brooks has imposed anything yet for storm water fees. But I haven't seen a tax bill yet and I'm not on city or county water.

The thing about a storm water utility implies that storm water is in some way collected and treated. That is just pure fallacy and is impossible to accomplish.

The other things they propose to do with these funds are already a burden placed on the developers or included in other forms of revenue already being collected, like road taxes and sewer fees.

Once this kind of fee is in place there's no trouble for them to increase at will. This is all being promoted by the Feds and pressure is put on local governments to comply.

Next it will be "air space maintenance" or something.

BHH
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New additions for the suckers

I see some new things first mentioned here.

This list seems to have something for everyone.

But is it enough for Fayette County citizens to take the bait?

Will we be too late to back out of the tax vote?

Once we participate in the vote then we are in it for the 10 year duration.

I think if we are getting suckered into this, then we have submitted far too small of a list of wishes compared to the rest of the region.

I've heard the story of how a community now in Atlanta was suckered into a vote on whether or not to be annexed into Atlanta. The proposal was to "take a vote of those who would be affected" by the annexation. Then when the vote was taken it included all of the city of Atlanta since they "would be affected".

Of course those in the city wanted, I think it was Buckhead, to be a part of Atlanta.

So it was annexed.

Robert W. Morgan
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The list is embarrassing

It ranges from many that are simply a waste of money to the completely stupid (the gateway bridge). I don't know who makes these lists locally, but they can't hold a candle to the guy in Rockdale County who wants $1 billion for rail service along I-20.

Sadly, our silly little list will be ignored and they will plow all the money into the high profile truly wasteful projects like the rail to Rockdale. And I guess we will be paying for it.