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The Local Agenda: Transit remains unknown in MPO ‘work program’

POSTED: April 16, 2013 12:39 a.m.

Just how transit services will play out in the Gainesville-Hall Metropolitan Planning Organization’s annual “work program” is yet to be known, MPO director Srikanth Yamala said Monday.

The group’s Technical Coordinating Committee is set to consider the document, which is intended to “describe the ongoing transportation planning process” for an MPO, at its Wednesday meeting.

The Gainesville-Hall MPO serves as the area’s lead transportation planning agency.

Area planners and engineers, as well as Georgia Department of Transportation representatives, make up the Technical Coordinating Committee.

The Unified Planning Work Program takes into account various transportation activities and objectives, including long-range and short-range planning.

Among its key elements is transit, which has been under fire lately.

Last week, the Hall County Board of Commissioners voted not to pursue a federal grant that would have supplied about $400,000 in operating money.

The move could severely hamper Hall Area Transit services — particularly those of the fixed-route Red Rabbit — past July 1.

Hall County and Gainesville officials have said they plan to sit down at some point and talk about the future of transit service in the area.

The technical committee could give its OK to the planning document, which would be forwarded to the decision-making Policy Committee at its May 7 meeting.

“We will have to wait and see what the final outcome would be with Hall Area Transit ... and address any amendments to the transit part accordingly,” said Yamala, who is also Hall County’s planning director.

The committee is set to meet at 10:30 a.m. at the Hall County Government Center, 2875 Browns Bridge Road, Gainesville.

It also is slated to get an update on Gainesville’s transportation master plan study from Richard Fangmann of Norcross-based Pond & Co.

The city has scheduled three community meetings as part of creating the plan.

The meetings are set for 5:30-7:30 p.m. May 8, June 27 and Aug. 1 in the Sidney Lanier Room at the Gainesville Civic Center.

The goal of the master plan is to improve connectivity for all users while making travel easier, safer and more efficient. The Gainesville City Council appointed 10 members to a transportation study group at its March 19 meeting.

Sarah Mueller covers government issues for The Times. Share your thoughts, news tips and questions with her:

smueller@gainesvilletimes.com

facebook.com/TimesSarahMueller

@SMTheTimes


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