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.