Pro-TSPLOST ‘rally’ Tues. at McIntosh
Voting already underway for $6.1B 10-county tax
The Fayette County Chamber of Commerce and the Fayette County Board of Realtors will sponsor a forum Tuesday to share “the positive side” of a proposed one percent regional transportation sales tax for 10 years.
The forum is slated for Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. at the auditorium at McIntosh High School.
If approved, the TSPLOST would be assessed in 10 metro counties including Fayette County. Early voting is already underway, with the final opportunity at the polls on election day July 31.
The Fayette Chamber has decided to support the tax, which would raise a projected $190 million here over 10 years. The TSPLOST is projected to rake in $6.1 billion total for regional projects alone.
Panelists slated for the forum include Todd Long, deputy commissioner for the Georgia Department of Transportation; Dave Williams, vice president of transportation for the metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce; Mike Faulkner, regional director of the Georgia Association of Realtors and Robert Pope, the Atlanta package division manager for UPS.
TSPLOST supporters claim that the tax is necessary for the Atlanta area to attract business prospects, as the metro area has one of the worst commuting times in the country.
Opponents have argued that the tax is too costly and the projects won’t have significant results. Critics also have harped on the fact that half of the money will go toward transit projects that will have little to no effect on reducing traffic congestion.
TSPLOST proponents have countered that Fayette County’s list contains no transit projects, yet the county will get back its investment in terms of project value along with a cash fund of $45 million for Fayette’s local governments that can be spent on any transportation project.
One of the catches of the TSPLOST effort as created by the Georgia Legislature is that Fayette County doesn’t have an exclusive say on whether it will be subject to the tax. That’s because Fayette’s votes will be lumped in with the other nine metro counties including the largest population counties of Fulton, DeKalb and Gwinnett. It’s that aggregate vote of all 10 counties combined that will determine the tax’s fate.
One of the biggest choke points for Fayette commuters that would be addressed by the TSPLOST is the interchange of Interstate 85 and Ga. Highway 74 in Fairburn, a short distance outside Fayette County. If the TSPLOST is approved, $22.5 million has been set aside for improvements that would add a significant amount of capacity to the intersection with the addition of two cloverleaf approach paths south of the bridge across I-85.
If the TSPLOST doesn’t pass, DOT will use a scaled-back design that implements a “diverging diamond” interchange to eliminate left turn movements and improve traffic flow.
The diverging diamond would allow three lanes of traffic to exit the interstate and go southbound on Hwy. 74 at the same time, DOT representatives have said previously.
The main upshot of the diverging diamond is that it can be accomplished using the existing bridges over the Interstate, and it can be done much quicker, DOT officials said.
Fayette’s 10 green-lit projects, at a total of an additional $141.8 million, include the realignment of Ga. Highway 92 and Hood Avenue in Fayetteville, both segments of the East Fayetteville Bypass, and some $2.36 million in cart path connections to the southside of Peachtree City’s industrial park.
Also on the list is the widening of Ga. Highway 85 from Grady Avenue in Fayetteville southward to Bernhard Road in unincorporated Fayette County.
Other TSPLOST projects approved for Fayette County include:
• Widening of Ga. Highway 92 from Jimmie Mayfield Boulevard southward to McBride Road in unincorporated Fayette County;
• Operational improvements on Ga. Hwy. 85 south from Bernhard Road southward to Hwy. 74 south;
• A newly-proposed “connector” between Hwy. 92 and Ga. Highway 138 north to link Fulton and Fayette counties; and
• Operational improvements on Hwy. 92 northward from Hwy. 85 in Fayetteville to Oakley Industrial Boulevard in south Fulton County.