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Eyes on the Road: Voters may learn of T-SPLOST projects before balloting
Local governments can use one-fourth of funds on their roads

Most of the transportation tax's focus is on regional roads projects, but that makes up three-fourths of where the proposed dollars will go.

The other 25 percent is the big question mark, and those are dollars that can add up big over time.

The Transportation Investment Act of 2010, which proposes the roads-building program and the new 1 percent sales tax that would go to fund it, allows local governments to use those dollars however they see fit, including for routine maintenance projects.

The 13-county Georgia Mountains region stands to rein in some $1.25 billion over 10 years from the new tax, translating to some $313 million for local governments, an estimated $61.5 million in Hall County alone.

In a September meeting at the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce, Issues Committee members said they believe that residents need to be informed about specific projects in that 25 percent allocation when they go to the polls on July 31.

Srikanth Yamala, transportation planning manager for the Gainesville-Hall Metropolitan Planning Organization, said last week he has started talking with Hall County and its cities about that pot of money. He hopes to have updated information by early March.

Voters should expect to hear more campaigning on both sides of the issue in the months leading up to the vote, including from area chambers of commerce and the Georgia Chamber of Commerce.

The Gainesville-Hall MPO's Technical Coordinating Committee is scheduled to talk about "public outreach efforts" concerning the sales tax at its quarterly meeting, set for 10:30 a.m. Wednesday at the Development Services Center at 440 Prior St. in Gainesville.

The committee comprises area planners and engineers discussing transportation projects.
Officials have said that while residents have no say in the Atlanta region vote, they'll be affected by the outcome, as many residents outside the metro area commute or travel frequently to Atlanta.

The 1 percent sales tax is expected to raise $8.5 billion in the 10-county region.

In a just-completed analysis, the Atlanta Regional Commission says that, if 157 designated projects are completed over the next 10 years:

Travel delays on roadways would drop by an average 24 percent.

Daily transit trips would rise to 580,000, compared to 417,000 trips today.

Air quality would improve, as the result of 72,000 fewer vehicles on the roads.

Ledan Extension repairs
set to start today

A section of Ledan Extension is scheduled to be closed today through Feb. 29 for repairs to a metal pipe under the road, said Jimmy Hightower, Hall County's road maintenance supervisor.

The work will take place between Cha Co and Green Hill roads in northwest Hall County.

A possible detour could involve motorists taking Green Hill Road, Chestatee Road and Sardis Road, or Sardis Road, Price Road and either Will Wallace Road or Cool Springs Road.

New signal to begin
operating Wednesday

A new traffic signal at Ga. 124 and Gum Springs Church Road in Braselton is set to begin operating Wednesday, weather permitting.

DOT District Traffic Engineer Brent Cook urged motorists to travel slowly in the area "while crews finish their work."

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