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Eyes on the Road: Roads planner set to speak at chamber event
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Srikanth Yamala, transportation planning manager for the Gainesville-Hall Metropolitan Planning Organization, is set to address the chamber's South Hall Business Coalition on the transportation vote.

The coalition is set to meet 8-9 a.m. Tuesday at the Hall County Library System's Spout Springs branch off Spout Springs Road and Lake Sterling Boulevard in Flowery Branch.

Reservations are required, and the admission fee is $5 for chamber members and $15 for nonmembers. The fee includes breakfast. Those interested in attending can contact Michelle Wiley at 770-532-6206.

Yamala has been a key figure in Hall County's planning for the July 31 sales tax vote. He particularly advised then-Gainesville Mayor Ruth Bruner on specific projects during early meetings with officials from throughout the 13-county Georgia Mountains region.

The tax vote is statewide but will be decided by voters in each region, with the referendum passing by a majority plus one vote. If it passes in Hall, the sales tax rate will rise to 8 percent from 7.

The tax is expected to generate some $1.25 billion over 10 years, with nearly $300 million going toward projects based in Hall that would have a "regional impact," such as the widening of U.S. 129/Cleveland Highway from Nopone Road to the White County line.

The Transportation Investment Act of 2010, which set up the proposed program, calls for 75 percent of revenues to go toward regional projects.

Another 25 percent would go for local governments to spend as they deem necessary.

Yamala is working with local governments on how those amounts would be spent. Hall, overall, is estimated to receive $4.83 million annually from the 25 percent portion, with unincorporated Hall receiving about $3.8 million.

Gainesville man earns Ga. engineer license

Colin Houppermans, a design engineer for the Georgia Department of Transportation's Gainesville-based Northeast Georgia district, has earned his professional engineer license in Georgia.

Houppermans, a Gainesville resident, began working with DOT in 2007 as a transportation engineer associate. He worked his way up to design engineer in 2008.

A California native, he graduated from Washington State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering.

"Colin is an excellent employee. I am confident his professional engineer's license will benefit him as he continues to design projects for our transportation network in Northeast Georgia," said District Engineer Bayne Smith.

"Engineers must meet some stringent qualifications to be licensed as professional engineer. You must have the appropriate combination of education and experience, along with passing the Fundamentals of Engineering and Principles and Practice of Engineering examinations," he said.

Out of 430 employees in the Northeast Georgia District, six are registered professional engineers.

Park and Ride lot gets restriping

The DOT's Park and Ride lot in downtown Blairsville now has handicap-accessible parking.

The 49-space lot on Ga. 515 was closed last week for restriping work.

The lot now has two handicap-accessible spaces and 47 regular spaces, said Teri Pope, spokeswoman at the DOT's Gainesville office.



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


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