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Eyes on the Road: Road tax bill dies in legislature

POSTED: March 26, 2014 12:25 a.m.

A bill that would have allowed neighboring counties to propose a transportation sales tax to voters didn’t survive the 2014 General Assembly.

“A study committee over the summer will hopefully address some of (the) issues,” said state Rep. Ed Setzler, R-Acworth, who introduced HB 195.

The bill would have amended law to allow a county to pair with any of its surrounding counties to form a “special tax district.” Voter approval would be needed for the district to be created.

The Transportation Investment Act of 2010 called for counties in 12 regional commissions throughout the state to devise a plan for road improvements in their region over a 10-year span and set it before voters.

Hall County would have received about $300 million for its nine projects in the 13-county Georgia Mountains region.

In July 2012, voters rejected the referendum in nine of 12 regions statewide, including Georgia Mountains, which includes Hall.

Setzler’s bill states that transportation projects are “a critical local government service for which adequate funding is not presently available.”

And many of them cross “multiple jurisdictional boundaries and must be coordinated in their design and construction.”

Early on, state Sen. Butch Miller, R-Gainesville, who serves as vice chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee, said he didn’t see Setzler’s bill as gaining much traction.

“Although there’s some merit to cities and counties working together to improve infrastructure, I’m not sure there’s an appetite for an additional tax among taxpayers,” Miller said. “I, for one, feel like we’re paying enough tax.

“I don’t anticipate the bill to have a lot of activity.”

Resurfacing work to start this week in Lumpkin

Lumpkin County has two resurfacing projects starting this week.

Weather permitting, work can begin tonight on Ga. 9/Morrison Moore Parkway from West Main Street/Barlow Street to Ga. 60 Business, a 4.2-mile stretch. The project costs nearly $1.5 million and has an Aug. 31 completion date.

The work is set to take place overnights Sundays through Thursdays.

Resurfacing of Ga. 60 Business between two stretches of Ga. 9 also is planned.

Work on the 4.18-mile, $1 million project is restricted to taking place between 9 p.m. Fridays and 6 a.m. Mondays.

The project is set for a July 31 completion.

In both projects, a pilot vehicle will be used to direct traffic through the work zone. Delays are expected.

Traffic could shift this week on Forsyth County road

The Georgia Department of Transportation plans to shift traffic this week on a 1-mile stretch of Bethelview Road in Forsyth County.

Weather permitting, traffic will move onto newly built roadway from the Dollar General Store north of Ga. 9 to north of Castleberry Road, as part of a $4.8 million widening project.

The shift will take place in sections, beginning Thursday night and wrapping up by 6 a.m. Friday.

Lane closures will be required, and traffic will be delayed in the area.

“This is a work zone and extreme caution is necessary for motorists and workers,” District Construction Engineer Harold Mull said.

Message signs are in place now to alert the community of the changes. he said.

The project is slated for a June 30 completion.

Jeff Gill covers transportation issues for The Times. Share your thoughts, news tips and questions with him:

jgill@gainesvilletimes.com

facebook.com/jeffagill

@JeffGTimes


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