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Eyes on the Road: Sales tax talk is planned at MPO meeting Wednesday
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The 25 percent portion of the proposed 1 percent transportation sales tax will be discussed in more detail at a Gainesville-Hall Metropolitan Planning Organization meeting this week.

Much has been discussed about the Transportation Investment Act program, which, if approved, would funnel 75 percent of tax proceeds to regional projects.

Out of an estimated $1.25 billion for the Georgia Mountains region over 10 years, Hall would get about $300 million.

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

Srikanth Yamala, transportation planning manager for the MPO, plans to talk about that portion of the tax with the MPO’s Technical Coordinating Committee, set to meet at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday in the Development Service Center, 440 Prior St., Gainesville.

Yamala has been 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.

Also, at that meeting, David Fee, MPO transportation planner, is set to talk about surveys at state Park and Ride lots on Interstate 985.

“The MPO (has) heard several anecdotes over the past few years regarding commuters using the (lots),” Yamala said.

“The purpose of the surveys was to assess the usage by Hall County residents and determine commuter destinations.”

A survey was conducted between 6 and 9 a.m. on three different workdays over a 30-day period at lots off exits 4, 16 and 17, he said.

“Commuters were asked a series of standard questions to determine commuting patterns, and a license plate survey by county was conducted to determine specific usage,” Yamala said.

A copy of the report will be posted on the MPO’s website,, next week.

“I think findings from surveys like these help us understand the latent usage of certain demographics and assist us in developing future commuting options,” Yamala said.


Work finishes early on project near hospital

The intersection of Ga. 59 and Clear Creek Parkway in Lavonia reopened to traffic Friday.

Work on the crossing wrapped up early after it had been scheduled to be closed for three weeks.

The Georgia Department of Transportation project involved increasing the sight distance and making safety improvements in the wake of Ty Cobb Regional Medical Center’s opening.

The work required Ga. 59 to be closed to through traffic from North Fairview Road to Stone Bridge Road during the lowering of Ga. 59.

Ga. 59 was closed to truck traffic from Ga. 106 to Stone Bridge Road during the period.

Crews started working on the project March 27 and had been expected to finish up Tuesday.

Ga. 59 was lowered by about 2 feet to provide the proper sight distance for motorists entering Ga. 59 from Clear Creek Parkway and Stone Bridge Road.

“These changes will greatly improve the safety of this intersection,” states a DOT press release.

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

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