Fayette gets $142 million for 10 projects on regional list
A project to fix the often-clogged interchange of Ga. Highway 74 and Interstate 85, the bane of many Fayette commuters, has survived another round of cuts for consideration in a push for a regional transportation sales tax.
The interchange fix, projected at $22.5 million, is on a list approved Monday by the five-member executive committee of the Atlanta Regional Transportation Roundtable.
The interchange fix, along with the 10 other projects OK’d for Fayette County, face on more hurdle: approval on Oct. 15 by the entire 21-member regional transportation roundtable.
Fayette got 10 projects on the most recent list, at a total of an additional $141.8 million. They include the realignment of Ga. Highway 92 and Hood Avenue in Fayetteville, both segments of the East Fayetteville Bypass, and some $2.36 million in cart path connections to the southside of Peachtree City’s industrial park.
Also on the list is the widening of Ga. Highway 85 from Grady Avenue in Fayetteville southward to Bernhard Road in unincorporated Fayette County.
Other projects approved for Fayette County by the executive committee include:
• Widening of Ga. Highway 92 from Jimmie Mayfield Boulevard southward to McBride Road in unincorporated Fayette County;
• Operational improvements on Ga. Hwy. 85 south from Bernhard Road southward to Hwy. 74 south;
• A newly-proposed “connector” between Hwy. 92 and Ga. Highway 138 north to link Fulton and Fayette counties; and
• Operational improvements on Hwy. 92 northward from Hwy. 85 in Fayetteville to Oakley Industrial Boulevard in south Fulton County.
One Peachtree City project that didn’t make the list was the “gateway” cart path bridge over Ga. Highway 54 West that would connect an existing cart path along MacDuff Parkway to the Shoppes at the Village Piazza shopping center. But that project can be funded with money from the city’s local share revenue from the tax, which is projected to be upwards of $10 million.
If the tax is approved regionwide, Fayette County is projected to pay in $205 million toward the total over the 10-year life of the sales tax.
The projects on the list, including the I-85/Hwy. 74 interchange in Fairburn, total $164.3 million. The county and its municipalities are also projected to get an additional $43 million back to spend on any local transportation project they wish.
That pushes Fayette’s total projected take to $207 million.
Regionwide the tax is projected to pull in more than $6 billion in revenue over its 10-year lifespan.
The full 21-member roundtable, which includes Fayetteville Mayor Ken Steele and Fayette County Commission Chairman Herb Frady, can take add and remove projects from the list with a majority vote. The final list is expected to be voted on no later than October 15.
In the meantime, the roundtable will be gathering more public input to help shape the final list that will be considered by voters in the referendum. A public meeting about the regional transportation sales tax proposal is scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 20 from 6-8 p.m. at Fayette County’s Stonewall government complex in downtown Fayetteville.
The sales tax referendum was initially scheduled to be in July 2012 as part of the primaries, but there is a chance the legislature may move the date to the November general election at the request of Gov. Nathan Deal.
Proponents of the sales tax have argued that Fayette County will also benefit from other projects on the list scheduled for other counties, such as the widening of Ga. Highway 54 east of Fayetteville to U.S. Hwy. 19/41, most of which is located in Clayton County for a total price tag of $40 million.
Also in Clayton County with a potential affect on Fayette County is the widening of Ga. Highway 85 from Old National Highway to Roberts Drive, projected cost at $28.4 million.
Opponents of the tax previously have argued that Fayette County won’t get its fair share of projects and instead would end up “donating” a good portion of tax proceeds to the remainder of the Atlanta region.