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Regional Transportation Wish List in the Hands of Roundtable

List of 445 projects under consideration for final project list. Hamilton Mill Road and Braselton Highway road widening projects make unconstrained list.

A broad, “unconstrained” wish list of transportation projects has been vetted by the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) and was delivered June 1 to the Atlanta Regional Transportation Roundtable with about 30 Gwinnett projects erased from the slate. 

The 21-member roundtable includes the mayor of Atlanta, mayors from each of the 10 counties and 10 county commission chairs including . In accordance with the Transportation Investment Act, the roundtable selected a five-member executive committe. That committee, chaired by Norcross Mayor Bucky Johnson, now has the challenging task of drafting a “constrained” list—whittling $22.9 billion in projects to a list that can be funded with an estimated $7 billion in projected revenue for regional projects—by this August.

The constrained list must be approved by the full 21-member roundtable. After public comment, a final list will be due on Oct. 13, according to officials at the ARC. That list will ultimately go before the voters, who will decide in July 2012 whether to approve a ten-year, one-penny sales tax for the listed transportation projects.

Local governments, transit agencies and other organizations from the 10-county metro Atlanta region submitted their suggestions earlier this year. The City of Dacula including replacing/widening the Dacula Road Bridge at Highway 29, widening Harbins Road to four lanes, extending Sugarloaf Parkway from Highway 316 to State Route 20 and building a Winder Highway bike trail from Dacula to Athens. Only one of Dacula's projects, the $301 million Sugarloaf Parkway extension, made the unconstrained list.

Two also made the cut. A $50.7 million project to widen Hamilton Mill Road from two to four lanes from Buford Highway to Braselton Highway made the list as did a $160.2 million project to widen Braselton Highway from Highway 20 to the Barrow County line.

Todd Long, Director of Planning for GDOT, vetted the regions’ project ideas before submitting the list of 445 projects to the roundtable.

He chose to slash about 100 of the suggested projects and tack about 150 additional projects on, though doing straight math can be difficult in this case because some projects were broken up and some were merged.

Jayne Hayes of the Atlanta Regional Commission said that some of the projects were taken out at this phase because they were better suited to be funded from the local portion of the funds, not the regional list. The City of Dacula stands to receive approximately $2 million over the 10-year life of the TSPLOST, according to Mayor Jimmy Wilbanks.

Mayor Johnson said he thinks the changes made are on point—now it is time for him to get to work.

“As we assemble the project list, the roundtable’s primary objective is to ensure that all projects can be underway within 10 years and guarantee that spending is 100 percent accountable and transparent to everyone,” said Johnson in a released statement. “That’s why it’s so important that all residents participate and provide us with their preferences.”

This month, one million households in the Atlanta region will be invited to participate in telephone town hall meetings. During these meetings, participants will be able to question their local roundtable representatives regarding transportation priorities.

For more information, visit the Atlanta Regional Roundtable website.

Brian Crawford June 02, 2011 at 12:15 PM
Imagine that, if you want something, you have to pay for it. This is a concept our deadbeat Congress should learn.
Jimmy Orr June 02, 2011 at 05:03 PM
Mayor Johnson, I will be "anxiously" awaiting a call from you or Madame Chairwoman. Cut those developer's choo choos out of the unconstrained list and you might have a project list citizens will support. If the ARC is to do transportation planning, fine. If Todd Long and his staff are to do transportation planning, fine. We don't need both. Good example of bureaucracy begats bureaucracy.
Jimmy Orr June 02, 2011 at 05:14 PM
Mayor Wilbanks, trust all is well with you. Like you, I wanted to see the bridge over the CSX railroad at the intersection of Dacula Road, Harbins Road, & Winder Highway make the cut. My thoughts were end Sugarloaf at Winder Highway, effect an interchange at this location, build a new bridge over the CSX tracks and via cooperation between the City of Dacula, Gwinnett County Transportation Dept, and the GDOT, extend the roadway through your neck of the woods to tie into Dacula Road in the neighborhood of Dacula Middle School (or beyond) and widen the roadway from this point to match the roadway on Dacula Road beyond the traffic light at Fence Road. If S.R 20 is to be widen into Cumming, this gives the county the much needed East-West route.
John Cook June 22, 2011 at 01:58 AM
Gwinnett current SPLOST revenue in our 2011 budget: $128,551,273 10-year sales tax revenue (projected): $1,285,512,730 Projects not yet cut from TSPLOST list: Total Bike/Ped Projects: $1,849,840 Total Light Rail / Transit Projects: $1,295,500,000 Total Roadway Projects: $1,658,912,028 Grand Total Gwinnett Projects still on unconstrained list: $2,956,261,868 Projects that need to be cut to constrain the project list to projected revenue: $1,670,749,138 The list needs to be constrained to the projected revenue (balanced). Some projects on the current list will be cut prior to Oct. 13. http://www.atlantaregionalroundtable.com/projects.html Gwinnett will contribute more than 1/7 of the total sales tax revenue to the 10-county Atlanta Region TSPLOST. I predict that we will not get 1/7 of the projects value.
John Cook June 22, 2011 at 02:36 AM
The express busses already exist and people are not riding them. What makes anyone think that a "light rail" electric bus system street car trolley with overhead wires running down the center lane of our major roads in Gwinnett is the answer? Are people going to magically give up their cars just because we spend a few billion dollars? The experience of many Gwinnett commuters indicates that the express bus system is not practical for them. How will a system that uses our surface streets, stops at trafic lights, gets delayed by accidents in intersections will magically pry people from the convenience of their automobiles? Most people are not aware that private companies offer van pools that pick passengers up within a couple of blocks of their homes and deliver them to the door of their workplace for less than it costs to drive to work. That combines convenience and savings while adding to the quality of life in our community. Yet our governments would rather spend billions on a street car system than to promote this existing alternative transportation. Read more about it on the Clean Air Campaign website. http://www.cleanaircampaign.org/Your-Commute/Improve-Your-Commute

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