I-85/Hwy. 74 junction, East Bypass on 1st list for regional SPLOST funding
Having recently released a list of transportation projects for potential funding from a regional sales tax, area officials are hoping for feedback from local residents.
On Monday, June 20 at 6 p.m. a special “telephone town hall meeting” on the topic will be conducted by phone.
Several thousand residents will be called randomly and invited to join, but any citizen can participate by calling 1-888-886-6603 and entering PIN code 16723. The meeting is set to last one hour.
One of the proposed transportation projects that might help Fayette County the most isn’t even inside the county lines. It’s actually in Fairburn in south Fulton County: a proposed $22.5 million for interchange improvements at Ga. Highway 74 and Interstate 85.
That project, along with some $246.1 million in projects inside Fayette County, has to survive a political process in which 21 Atlanta-area mayors and county commission chairmen decide which projects would be funded by the sales tax. Representing Fayette are County Commission Chairman Herb Frady and Fayetteville Mayor Ken Steele.
A preliminary list of projects has been released by state officials. The interchange is on that list, as is construction of the East Fayetteville Bypass, which includes linking it to Ga. Highway 85 South.
There are a host of other proposed Fayette County projects that are eligible for potential sales tax funding.
Included are several new cart paths linking Peachtree City’s southside to the southern tip of the industrial park, along with the “gateway” path bridge over Ga. Highway 54 West.
In Fayetteville, one of the more significant projects is the realignment of Ga. Highway 92 South as it enters the downtown area. The county has already approved SPLOST funding for the project, but if it is somehow funded by the regional transportation SPLOST, it would free up funding for other local transportation projects.
Other major projects proposed for funding include:
• Widening Ga. Highway 85 South from Grady Avenue to Bernhard Road;
• Widening Ga. Highway 92 South from Jimmie Mayfield Boulevard to McBride Road;
• Widening Ga. Highway 279 from Hwy. 85 to the Fulton County line;
• ”Operational improvements” to Ga. Highway 92 North from Fayetteville to Oakley Industrial Boulevard in Fulton County; and
• The second phase of the MacDuff Parkway extension in Peachtree City that would link Ga. highways 54 and 74.
There are also several bridge replacement projects in the mix, including: McIntosh Road at the Flint River in south Fayette County and Kenwood Road at Morning Creek in north Fayette County along with Ebenezer Church Road at Whitewater Creek in central Fayette County.
Also remaining in contention for funding in Peachtree City is a new cart path that would reach from the new Flat Creek golf cart bridge up to Crosstown Road. This path would connect to a number of the city’s industries including Panasonic and Gerresheimer along with the Federal Aviation Administration’s air traffic control center.
Another path project in the running would connect the Flat Creek bridge westward to a tunnel underneath Ga. Highway 74 and a new path going north towards the southern end of the city’s industrial park and south to the city’s Baseball and Soccer Complex. This path would connect with businesses such as Cooper Lighting and SANY in addition to others.
Two road improvement projects also made the list for Peachtree City:
• Improvements to Ga. Highway 54 and Commerce Drive; and
• The second phase of extending MacDuff Parkway to Ga. Highway 74.
Tyrone projects included resurfacing for Castlewood Road, and also Palmetto Road, along with a multi-use path stretching along Tyrone Road from Hwy. 74 to Ga. Highway 54 near Fayetteville.
Based on the total amount of projects listed, Fayette County qualifies for some $246.1 million in projects inside the county boundaries.
Fayette County is projected to contribute some $205 million over the entire 10-year levy of the proposed tax.
Region wide, the tax is estimated to rake in some $8 billion over the 10-year period. If it’s approved by a majority of the region’s voters, that is.
But nearly $23 billion in projects remain on the list. So there’s a lot of cutting to do across the entire region.
The responsibility of paring down that list lies with the 21-member Regional Transportation Roundtable. Fayette County has two representatives on that group: former Peachtree City mayor and current county commission Chairman Herb Frady and Fayetteville Mayor Ken Steele, who is the current president of the Georgia Municipal Association.
The real power, however, rests with voters, who will be asked in June 2012 to approve the 10-year penny sales tax to fund the list of projects.
Steele and Frady have said they will wait and see the final list of projects before they determine whether they will support the sales tax initiative. The key, both have said, is to make sure that Fayette County is getting enough bang for its buck, as the saying goes.
The rub is that even if Fayette County voters shoot the tax down, the sales tax would be assessed here if it is approved by the aggregate of voters in the entire region.
The telephone town hall meeting is a part of the information gathering effort undertaken by the 21-member Atlanta Regional Transportation Roundtable, which will prepare a list of crucial regional transportation projects for potential sales tax funding.
The roundtable’s goal is to “come together and based on public input, create a robust list of transportation projects that will have a positive impact on families and businesses around the entire region,” said Roundtable Chairman and Norcross Mayor Bucky Johnson.