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Eyes on the Road: Elected leaders to weigh in on road priority list
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A group of top Hall County elected leaders gets its chance to weigh in on a preliminary list of road projects in a long-range transportation plan.

The Gainesville-Hall Metropolitan Planning Organization’s decision-making policy committee is set to meet at 10 a.m. today at Oakwood City Hall, 4035 Walnut Circle.

They will consider approving the plan’s project priorities and project list, which has been aired before other MPO committees and at a community meeting.

The MPO, which serves as the Hall area’s lead transportation planning agency, is developing the federally required plan — a function it performs every four years — with the help of Pond & Co., a Norcross-based consultant.

The plan must be finished by August, but much of the heavy work is taking place now.

Officials rolled out an initial draft projects list, then tweaked it after hearing from the MPO’s technical coordinating committee, a group of area engineers, planners and other government officials.

The top two projects are widening Ga. 60/Thompson Bridge Road from Ga. 136/Price Road to Yellow Creek Road in Murrayville and widening Spout Springs Road from Hog Mountain Road to the Gwinnett County line in South Hall.

The federally required plan also features a “tiered” listing of the projects, or projects divided into time frames between 2015 and 2040.

The Hall County area is expected to receive about $1.4 billion for road projects through 2040 from local, state and federal sources.

Another $2.42 billion in projects have been left off the “financially constrained” plan and otherwise dubbed as “aspirations.”

State roads panel close to wrapping up meetings

The Joint Committee on Critical Transportation Infrastructure Funding’s last meetings are set for Nov. 19 in Blue Ridge and Nov. 20 in Rome.

A Georgia House resolution passed this year created the committee, which is charged with “identifying new sources and methods of funding for critical transportation infrastructure needs.”

The group is set to make recommendations to the legislature by Nov. 30. The General Assembly reconvenes Jan. 12.

State Sen. Steve Gooch, R-Dahlonega, committee co-chairman, has said that “in order to maintain the kind of quality of roads we have in Georgia and to continue to expand some of our roads to handle the congestion, we’ve got to look for more dependable and long-term solutions for funding.”

Former U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood told the group in Atlanta in August that fixing the nation’s crumbling roads and bridges requires an unpopular measure — raising the federal gas tax by at least 10 cents.

The gas tax has been set at 18.4 cents per gallon since 1993.

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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