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Residents, panel to discuss future of Ga. 400 at summit
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Georgia 400 Summit
When: 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday
Where: Lanier Technical College Forsyth Conference Center, 7745 Majors Road, Cumming
Cost: $30 for Cumming-Forsyth County, Dahlonega-Lumpkin or Dawson County chamber of commerce members; $35 nonmembers
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CUMMING — Residents of Forsyth, Dawson and Lumpkin counties are invited to discuss the future of Ga. 400 this week.

The Cumming-Forsyth County Chamber of Commerce, in conjunction with the Dawson and Dahlonega-Lumpkin chambers, will hold the 2012 Georgia 400 Summit at 11:30 a.m. Thursday.

The event at the Lanier Technical College Forsyth Conference Center is open to the public. Tickets are $30 for members of any of the three chambers, or $35 for nonmembers.

James McCoy, president and CEO of the Forsyth chamber, said the event is largely geared toward businesses and individuals with high stakes in the future of the corridor.

“I suspect we’ll have 100 folks or so, but what’s going to be more important is the real focus on making sure that folks from Forsyth, Dawson and Lumpkin counties who consider Ga. 400 to be the most important to them are there and are engaged,” he said.

McCoy noted the event will primarily consist of a panel discussion by representatives from the State Transportation Board of Georgia, the state Department of Transportation, and the State Road and Tollway Authority.

“There will be some opportunity for feedback from the audience,” he said. “But it’s really more intended to be a discussion among the panelists about the importance of 400 and what we can all be doing to better work together for the future of Ga. 400.”

Linda Williams, president of the Dawson County Chamber of Commerce, said she’s enjoyed the opportunity for the three counties to work together on the event.

“Certainly what happens on 400 affects each one of us and, you know, the county line doesn’t mean anything to travelers and visitors,” she said. “It’s just Ga. 400. So we need to have a seamless effort to preserve Ga. 400, make it better, make it function as best it can to serve all of us.”

McCoy said some of the topics panelists likely will discuss are congestion and possible ways to improve the highway, such as the proposed 1-cent regional transportation sales and use tax.

If approved by voters on July 31, the tax could be used to fund more than 150 transportation projects around metro Atlanta.

“Widening of 400 is a major, major part of the transportation referendum and I can’t imagine it won’t be a discussion topic,” McCoy said.

Williams encouraged residents of all three counties to attend.

“It’s the golden vein that feeds all of us and we need to keep it healthy and in good operation,” she said. “What benefits Ga. 400 benefits our three counties and that’s what we all need to work for.”