The Gainesville-Hall Metropolitan Planning Organization will start either late this year or in early 2014 on updating its 2040 Metropolitan Transportation Plan, director Srikanth Yamala said.
The planning process usually takes anywhere between 12-18 months and ”we are required to update the plan every four years, essentially by August 2015,” said Yamala, who also serves as Hall County’s planning director.
“Most likely, we will retain the planning horizon to 2040,” he said.
The Gainesville-Hall MPO is Hall County’s main transportation planning agency, conducting federally mandated metropolitan planning for the Gainesville “urbanized area.”
The U.S. Census Bureau defines an urbanized area as “core census block groups or blocks that have a population density of at least 1,000 people per square mile and surrounding census blocks that have an overall density of at least 500 people per square mile.”
Hall’s urbanized area of 130,846 people encompasses Gainesville and most of South Hall.
The current 2040 document, approved in August 2011 and recently receiving national recognition as a “user-friendly” plan, cites some $2.1 billion in area transportation projects, with funding coming from federal, state and local sources.
It features mostly road-widening projects, but work also focuses on transit, intersection, bicycle, pedestrian and bridge improvements.
The document covers key projects in three time periods: 2012-2017, 2018-2030 and 2031-2040.
TSPLOST off to $9 million start in 3 Middle Georgia regions
The first receipts are in for the three Middle Georgia regions that approved the 1 percent transportation sales tax last summer.
The January amount was about $8.8 million in the Central Savannah River, River Valley and Heart of Georgia-Altamaha regional commission districts, according to the Georgia State Financing and Investment Commission and the Georgia Department of Transportation.
Preliminary project work is under way and officials expect construction to begin on the first Transportation Investment Act projects this summer.
The sales tax was otherwise hugely unpopular throughout Georgia’s nine other regional commission districts. The most lopsided vote against the tax took place in the 13-county Georgia Mountains district, which includes Hall.
Transportation items help fill area meeting agendas durinG March
A couple of key transportation-related meetings are set this month.
The Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Transportation Forum is scheduled for 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. March 13 at the University of North Georgia’s Gainesville campus.
DOT officials typically talk about current and future transportation plans for the Hall County area at the program.
Also, the Gainesville-Hall Metropolitan Planning Organization’s decision-making policy committee is slated to meet at 10 a.m. March 12 at the Hall County Government Center, 2875 Browns Bridge Road.
In addition, Oakwood City Council will consider a paving contract with Clermont and Lula at its March 11 meeting, set to begin at 7 p.m. at Oakwood City Hall,4035 Walnut Circle.
Jeff Gill covers transportation issues for The Times. Share your thoughts, news tips and questions with him: