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Roads tax meeting set for tonight
Roundtable will begin work on final projects list
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The 26-member Georgia Mountains regional transportation roundtable is set to begin work this evening on preparing a final projects list to go before voters next year.

The group, comprising top city and county officials, including Gainesville Mayor Ruth Bruner and Hall County Board of Commissioners Chairman Tom Oliver, is scheduled to meet 5-7 p.m. at the Ruby Albright Recreation and Aquatic Center, 120 Paul Franklin Road, Clarkesville.

Members will begin reviewing a project list compiled by a five-member executive committee headed by Habersham County Board of Commissioners Chairman Sonny James.

Lamar Paris, Union County's sole commissioner, will serve as the roundtable's chairman.

If voters approve a 1 percent sales tax to fund the projects, the Georgia Mountains region would receive about $1.26 billion over 10 years, with 75 percent of that, or nearly $945 million, going for regional projects.

The remaining 25 percent, or some $315 million, would go to city and county governments to use as they see fit, including for transit and maintenance.

As part of the proposed regional amount, Hall County would receive nearly $300 million for such projects as widening U.S. 129/Cleveland Highway from Nopone Road to White County and Spout Springs Road from Hog Mountain Road to Gwinnett County.

According to the Transportation Investment Act of 2010, roundtables throughout Georgia have until Oct. 15 to approve a final list.

Voters by region will decide in a statewide referendum whether to approve the sales tax. The legislature is considering moving the vote to November 2012 from July.

Regional events