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Haddix: We must get out of ARC to protect Fayette from regional tax

2012 regional transportation tax would export Fayette money with little in return, PTC mayor charges

Should Fayette County withdraw from participating in the Atlanta Regional Commission and instead become part of the more rural Three Rivers Commission, which includes Coweta and Spalding counties among others south of metro Atlanta?

Peachtree City Mayor Don Haddix says emphatically yes, especially if Fayette residents don’t want to get lumped into a regional taxation scheme that he says would result in more Fayette money leaving the county than would ever return. He makes that case in a column on Page A5.

Fayette County Commission Chairman Jack Smith and Fayetteville Mayor Ken Steele disagree, contending such a move would cause Fayette to lose a seat at the big table involving metro transportation issues.

Haddix said Tuesday that a switch from the Atlanta Regional to the Three Rivers Commission will be considered by the city councils in Peachtree City, Tyrone and Brooks this month.

As for the Fayette County Board of Commissioners, Haddix said he knows incoming commissioners Steve Brown and Allen McCarty, who will be sworn in in January, are in favor of his proposal. He also suggested that recent anti-transit comments from commissioners Eric Maxwell and Herb Frady make it possible that the commission could also vote soon to make the switch to Three Rivers instead of the commission waiting until January.

Presuming the move wins favor at those levels, the matter will be up for a final decision by the Georgia legislature, Haddix explained.

In an interview Tuesday, Haddix lamented the fact that Peachtree City’s golf cart paths don’t qualify for funding under the regional transportation tax that will be voted on in 2012.

The rush is on to make the switch promptly so Fayette won’t be lumped in with metro Atlanta and — according to Haddix — get the short end of transportation funding if a regional transportation sales tax is approved in 2012 for the metro Atlanta area.

“We have no congestion points, no proposals for down here, not anything,” Haddix said of the state’s regional transportation plans.

Haddix also said that at a recent regional transportation meeting, DOT officials “just flatly admitted there’s nothing in this for Fayette” in terms of reaping beneficial projects in Fayette County that would be funded by the regional transportation sales tax funds.

Fayette Chairman Smith and Fayetteville Mayor Steele argue that leaving ARC would leave Fayette without a voice in regional transportation issues, which is critical since some 60 percent of Fayette residents commute into Atlanta each workday. Smith also said that in a more rural regional commission area, Fayette would be looked upon as a “metro” county by the remaining more rural counties, putting Fayette in a poor position from a regional cooperation standpoint.

“They want us to be like the southern counties that are rural in nature, but 60-plus percent of the population in Fayette County commutes out of the county to work and they don’t go south, west or east. They go north,” Smith said. “Our citizens are more in tune to metro Atlanta than they are to rural areas.”

ARC, meanwhile, has provided Fayette with funding for Livable Centers Initiative projects in Peachtree City and Fayetteville of more than $1 million each, and another $400,000 in funding comes to Fayette Senior Services thanks to ARC, Steele and Smith said in separate interviews Tuesday with The Citizen.

Meanwhile it costs Fayette County a bit over $100,000 for its annual dues to ARC, officials said.
Smith added that ARC does not dictate transportation projects for individual counties and cities, but does have a responsibility of making sure the region’s projects meet federal air quality standards. If not, the projects must be tweaked until they can meet the air quality guidelines, Smith said.

If those projects aren’t modified, the region will lose its federal funding for transportation initiatives, Smith added.

Even if Fayette left ARC, it would still have to meet the air quality standards, because for the purpose of getting federal funding, Fayette will remain part of “metro Atlanta,” Smith said.

“If Fayette County is not a member of the ARC, it will still be subject to dictates for transportation without a voice at the table or a vote in the outcome,” Smith said.

Smith added that if you take out the three largest counties in the ARC, the remaining seven counties that are most similar to Fayette County are able to out-vote the three mega counties. Fayette would not enjoy a similar advantage in the Three Rivers Commission, Smith said.

“We’re inextricably bound to the Atlanta area,” said Steele. “There are numerous advantages to being in the ARC. Comparatively, those advantages don’t exist in Three Rivers.”

One project which qualifies for metro Atlanta regional sales tax funding that would affect Fayette commuters is the intersection of Ga. Highway 74 North at Interstate 85, Haddix said.

Haddix contends that development around the area has contributed largely to the congestion problems, so it should be Fairburn’s responsibility to fix it. He acknowledged that many of the commuters flowing through the road at drive time on workdays are Fayette residents, but many are also from Coweta, he added.

One solution would be to add road projects in Coweta to enhance their access to the Interstate so they won’t have to use Hwy. 74, Haddix said.

As it stands now, even if Fayette voters disapprove the regional 1 percent tax at the polls, if the aggregate vote total among the 10-county area gains more than 50 percent of the vote, the tax would be assessed here and throughout the region. In other words, Fayette would get stuck with the tax even if a majority of Fayette voters were against it.

Fayette would still face the same scenario if it switches to the Three Rivers area, but Haddix contends the county will be better positioned to get funding for needed transportation projects, even though the pool of funding will be much smaller. Such a regional T-SPLOST is defined by the boundaries of the regional commissions.

The projects that qualify for funding by the regional transportation sales tax must be approved by a regional roundtable of local elected officials, and Haddix is Fayette’s representative on the roundtable.

The sales tax would kick back 15 percent of its revenues to be divvied up among the 10-county metro area, with those funds eligible to be spent on non-regional projects of each county’s choosing, ARC officials have said.

Haddix in his column contends that Fayette will never get back the money it sends to the bigger counties’ projects.

The switch to Three Rivers is not a done deal. It will require a majority vote representing the governing bodies of more than 50 percent of the total cities’ combined populations and also a majority vote by the Fayette County Commission, Haddix said.

If those hurdles are crossed, the matter goes to the Georgia legislature for approval. Haddix said the legislature’s track record for approving such changes is 100 percent.

“The ARC goals are buses and trains among other things,” Haddix said, although a link he provided to a 2007 powerpoint shows no bus, train or rail service coming to Fayette County under what is referred to as a “premium expansion concept” for the region’s transit systems.

Haddix also pointed out that the 2007 plan includes an “outer loop” around metro Atlanta that would go through Fayetteville and most likely a portion of north Fayette County.

But since that plan was hatched, transportation funds have dried up in the recession and the region is struggling to find funding to maintain the existing road network, much less coming up with funding for such massive new projects. A project as ambitious as an outer loop around metro Atlanta would certainly run into the multi-billion-dollar range, and the regional sales tax is projected to raise $7-8 billion within its 10-year lifespan.

Haddix contends that state transportation officials want the tax to last at least 30 years to have a significant impact, but that will require voters re-approving the tax twice following the initial approval.

— Additional reporting by Ben Nelms



Mike King's picture

What if Fayette does join the Three Rivers Commission, does that mean no 30 year SPLOST? It does not. Or could it be that we are going to be subjected to an area SPLOST referendum with even less to say about it? Likely.

I am of the opinion that we are taxed enough now, and government should look into ways to stop SPENDING! How many millions was it that Fayette County pissed away on the last SPLOST? Now the bastards are looking for 30 years of it with ten counties!

The effort should be how to defeat this thing, not which commission we should be in. Haddix has been quoted as being in favor of another SPLOST, so could this be his means to get it?

<em>“One project which qualifies for metro Atlanta regional sales tax funding that would affect Fayette commuters is the intersection of Ga. Highway 74 North at Interstate 85, Haddix said.”</em>

<em>“Haddix contends that development around the area has contributed largely to the congestion problems, so it should be Fairburn’s responsibility to fix it. He acknowledged that many of the commuters flowing through the road at drive time on workdays are Fayette residents, but many are also from Coweta, he added.”</em>

<em><strong>“it should be Fairburn’s responsibility to fix it.”</strong></em> How’s that worked so far Mr. Mayor?

Do you honestly think Fairburn gives a damn about commuters from PTC? NOT!

Do I honestly think you give a damn about commuters from PTC? NOT! You have said as much on several occasions.

You would prefer that we commuters just sit in traffic and bring our paychecks and taxes back home to PTC and quit bothering you about pesky little details.

Like I said in a previous post; in two years I’ll be taking my commute, paycheck and taxes to somewhere other than PTC.

NUK_1's picture

You got Haddix down perfectly: "doesn't matter about commuters on 74....Fairburn's problem...PTC people shouldn't ever leave PTC....."

Haddix is a complete embarrassment and it's a pity he's "representing us" during any discussion about transportation.

It seems that isolationism is no longer a valid foriegn policy.

We cannot change our geography relative to or big neighbors. But they are our neighbors none the less. Fayette is to Altanta metro, like the bird that eats the bugs off the rhino's back. It is an even trade? Probably not, but there is some mutual benefit to the relationship.

ARC or 3 rivers? Sounds like there is a cost benefit to either approach.

Is there some way to leverage the relationship to the benefit of the citiznes of Fayette, even indirectly? If we can utilize the funds we get to facilitate economic development and the improvement of the county overall then we can make the best of the situation. For example, Senoia. Seems like they have a concept, some direction and an action plan. Should they be alone in Fayette County? There is a model there the whole county could follow.

I lean toward ARC. Why? opportunity to influnece the direction of development in the Altanta metro overall. With participation in the dialog ther is the opprotunity to influence. As isolationists - we are truly irrelevant.


Don Haddix's picture

No, this tax is a transportation tax. It cannot be used for economic development, only building roads and adding trains and buses, in example.

As a note, Senoia is in Coweta, not Fayette, and is in Three Rivers.

We have been in ARC since 1991. The economic development gain has been...?

Influence? Again, we have been in ARC for 19 years and check out the plan <a href="" target="_blank">here</a>, to begin. Under Multi-Media click the first link. The presentation there gives a pretty fast feel of what the plan is all about. Fayette does not fit.

In the 13th smallest county in Georgia with a population of just over 100,000 in a Region of over 4 million people we are not main players. That would change drastically in Three Rivers.

As well read my article posted under Opinion.

<cite><strong>Don Haddix
Peachtree City Mayor</strong></cite>

Dear Mayor Haddix,

I want to stay open minded. Isn't there more to ARC than strictly transport? I noticed on-line that ARC developed the idea of a livable centers initiative. And that towns with vision have developed sophisticated proposals to surcure valuable grants follwoing this concept. It seems that even if Senoia is on to something good, even if they are in Cowetta, and that the idea could be work here across the county line. I do not know much about livable centers, but couldn't towns like Brooks and Tyrone tap into the Senoia concept to make inviting vibrant little down town areas to invite day trippers for a bite to eat and a stroll through a few shops.

And could a cart path system, properly packaged be a integral part of a good proposal for integrated Livable Centers?

Surely Fayetteville could tap into the idea - if only they can free the town squeare of the burden of commuter traffic? Maybe that is why Fayetteville mayor Mr. Steele is positive about ARC.

Maybe we're just not thinking 4th dimensionally.


Don Haddix's picture

The LCI is based on the Atlanta MPO, not ARC, which are the counties of Barrow, Bartow, Cherokee, Clayton, Cobb, Coweta, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Forsyth, Fulton, Gwinnett, Henry, Newton, Paulding, Rockdale, Spalding, Walton. They are in several Regions, not ARC.

In PTC we already are active in LCI. Have been for years. That would not end.

<cite><strong>Don Haddix
Peachtree City Mayor</strong></cite>

Not to mention the PUL, ROT, KKK, NAACP, and CLU.

Fourth dimensionally, I don't want a stroll through Brook's vibrant areas!
We are going to pay for that?
What is a day-tripper? Loafers who don't work?

The Livable Centers stop at the Clayton County line minus one mile. Also Lenox Junction at 54/74 and Disney Square beyond the RR tracks (other side if the tracks).

Securing valuable grants by Fayette republicans isn't difficult. What is difficult is hiding the fact that you took it! Especially at TEA meetings and elections.

Those visionary sophisticated proposals following what some do should be done by liberal crooks.

Town squares and computer traffic can be solved by a WBP and a EBP which will leave the quaint squares with small tea rooms totally to the old ladies and loafers! 6-8 people a day buying tea and cookies there ought to pay the overhead. They could ride the future FFTT (Ferreting Fayettes To Town) trolley there and back home, solving the DT parking problem.

Yeah, visionary, that's it!

Don Haddix's picture

When Jack Smith talks about the Air Quality it needs to be made clear there are 20 counties under that mandate. Half of them are in other Regions, so trying to leverage that as a reason to stay in ARC isn't realistic.

Coweta is one such county, in example. It is in Three Rivers.

<cite><strong>Don Haddix
Peachtree City Mayor</strong></cite>

I vote we remove Mayor Haddix from representing PTC and/or Fayette County as our representative to the Atlanta Regional Commission as he clearly doesn’t have the majority’s interest at heart.

If the article is correct in stating that, <em>“Fayette Chairman Smith and Fayetteville Mayor Steele say that 60% percent of Fayette residents commute into Atlanta each workday.”</em>; then there is a large percentage of commuters/taxpayers in Fayette County/PTC that could take issue with Mayor Haddix’s stance.

We, I use that term loosely as I didn’t vote for him, elected Mr. Haddix to be the Mayor of PTC, not God. As the Mayor of a city he should take it to the bank that perhaps 60% +/- of us disagree with his position on this issue.

For God’s sake, we have a mayor that wants to ban gas powered golf carts because less than 4% of city citizens actually responded to a poll saying they want something to happen yet he ignores a potential 60% of taxpaying citizens that actually PAY for this place. Did he go to school in Alabama?

Mr. Mayor, I’ve said it for years, ask Steve Brown, Fayette County NEEDS a transportation alternative other than spending millions of taxpayers’ dollars on roads to nowhere.

If PTC, Fayette County and Coweta have a need to fix the Hwy. 74/I-85 interchange then get it done! Quit bitching that is Fairburn’s problem. It’s <strong>YOUR</strong> problem as it directly impacts your taxpaying citizens.

In order to have Mayor Haddix removed from representing us commuters I wound suggest we all contact either <a href=””>Jack Smith</a> or <a href=””>Kennith Steele</a> and ask what can be done to have Mayor Haddix removed, as he clearly doesn’t represent the majority of the citizens in Fayette County. Ask them who we need to contact to have Mayor Haddix replaced with someone that’s going to look out for at least 60% of us that pay for this place.

Robert W. Morgan's picture

Having Fayette jump off the big stage of ARC based on a rookie mayor's opinion doesn't feel right to me. Some cooler heads need to be researching this. I smell a hidden agenda here and don't like it.

For years Fayette County and the whole southside has fought for recognition as part of metro Atlanta and now that we are there we want to throw it away? For what? Big frog in small pond? Let's find out what is really behind this.

Live free or die!

Sorry Dead Guy, your developer bias is showing. Leaving the McIntosh Trail RDC was a bad idea. Haddix is right. We get sucked in to ARC to solve Atlanta's bleeding financial situation. "Now that we are there"-- what do you mean that we're getting Clayton County bus service? You supporting the institutional has beens??? Boy that's a shocker.

TinCan's picture

I often agree with dead guy, but not on this one. I'm afraid I don't see that tight of a connection between our ARC involvement and the 74 / I85 interchange. I believe the mayor has it exactly right. If, he can get the goat roper and his side kick to go along with this I may have to (ouch, geez this hurts my brain, well fingers) change my opinion of Stevie B.

ptctaxpayer's picture

Agree with Fay79--- bad idea. How in the world an affluent county of 100,000 thinks that they will be anything other than a funds contributor to Atlanta is ignorant or deceitful. Our local politicians like Jack Smith, Rick Price, etc, always saw ARC as a potential, personal stepping stone. We will never get a real voice, any impact or any influence. If, after being good loyal Republicans Fayette has not gotten relief at I-85 and 74 entrance that tells you a lot about our lack of influence. Don't tax us on top of that too!

I have to respond to Morgan's characterization of Fred Brown's term in office. Equitable Insurance called ALL the development shots. Basinger and Williams were retreads that did what they were told. It was the residential stage primarily and Equitable made a lot of money. When it came time to start making money a little more aggressively by developing the commerical sites, they divesting to employees Steve Black and Doug Mitchell who, after Black served one term on the county commission bought the county sewer system in PTC for a buck and then after electing Bob Lenox as Mayor, sold it for $16 million to the city. Suh-weet. So, Fred Brown was just a tool of a more benevolent developer. At that point in time, no harm no foul. Fred Brown even worked as their lobbyist in PTC after he left office.

Where are we now? We are built out. We are done. And we don't need to get sucked in to funding Atlanta's problems. Leave ARC. It is that simple.

MajorMike's picture

ptctaxpayer - A very knowledgable post but I would correct you on one point. When PCDC first offered the sewer system to PTC it was basically a "we'll give it to you deal", I don't know the exact dollar amount but I could find out if it's important. At that time Bob Lenox was adamantly opposed to the transfer stating publicly that "PTC does not want to be in the sewer business". PCDC then repairs and upgrades the run down system - cost unknown but probably not cheap. Several years later Lenox reverses his decision and decides that the city needs control of the sewer system. My guess is that he was looking for a freebie now that the system was up to par. That's not what he got. You can add Bob lenox to the list of retards you listed above.

MajorMike's picture

Are you in any way related to Howard Morgan - Mayor of PTC from 1972 through 1977?

The switch to ARC occured in 1991 under Fred "developers buddy" Brown and at the time was probably considered a good move. You must consider though that that was still when Clayton County was the Delta pilot mecca. Many thing have changed since that time and most Fayette residents are more concered with avoiding any spillover from Clayton, Fulton, or Dekalb.

Robert W. Morgan's picture

Not related to former Mayor Morgan - it is after all a common name.
ARC was indeed perceived to be a good thing in 1991. I believe I heard that it would be a big help with industrial recruiting. That may or may not have been the case, but it is obviously not important to the city now.
Fred Brown was a friend of the major developer in PTC because during his terms, city government was way understaffed and the PCDC people were considered part of his staff and they were both on the same page as how to build a city. May not have been a perfect system but it worked a lot better than the Lenox, Brown 2 or Logsdon approaches. Jury is still out on Haddix, but he's looking like Brown 3 to me.

Live free or die!

I agree that Jack Smith, for one, would be a good person to ask about how to get out of office. He has first hand experience, thanx to his unwavering stand on the West Bypass. While you're at it, ask him where he got the 60% of Fayette residents commuting to Atlanta thing. We all know that even if this were true, what he's really talking about is the number of folks working at the Atlanta airport. Factor that out and we wouldn't even qualify as being a part of metro Atlanta. The problem lies with Fulton and Clayton Counties. We can't solve a journey requiring 20 miles through other counties by building roads to nowhere, and until we can tie into those other two counties with a feasible plan, all we do is spend money to foster development. Even Mayor Steele admitted that the West Bypass is being built with the future in mind. The problem is, though, that nobody has any idea as to how it would coordinate to what Fulton and Clayton Counties do or don't do. So we give the developers a break by taking a $50 million stab at "future development."

I'm not the one questioning his numbers, you are.

If you want answers contact Jack Smith yourself. I’ve asked Mayor Haddix if he thinks Jack Smith is lying about the 60% and Mayor Haddix has chosen to remain silent on the issue. They both, Haddix and Smith, see the same data yet only Mayor Haddix has refused to acknowledge it. I can only wonder as to why.

As far as "airport workers" are concerned; are you saying they don't count as they don't really commute?

A large number of my neighbors and friends throughout PTC would strongly disagree with you on that.

Anything that requires leaving the PTC hamlet for gainful employment is commuting. If one drives from PTC to Fayetteville or from PTC to Alpharetta one is still commuting.

To quote the article, “Fayette Chairman Smith and Fayetteville Mayor Steele argue that leaving ARC would leave Fayette without a voice in regional transportation issues, which is critical since some 60 percent of <strong>Fayette residents commute into Atlanta</strong> each workday.” I don’t see the word “airport” there; do you?

“We can't solve a journey requiring 20 miles through other counties by building roads to nowhere, and until we can tie into those other two counties with a feasible plan, all we do is spend money to foster development.”

Then I suggest you had better have a conversation with Mayor Haddix A.S.A.P. as that is precisely what he is fighting against.

As per Mayor Haddix, “Put the puzzle pieces together: Outer Loop terminal, Hwy. 85 north and south, Hwy. 54 to Peachtree City, Hwy. 74, West Bypass, split grade intersection, buses, etc., and you see Fayette becomes a complex interchange in an inter-modal transportation system. That means the end of Fayette being a rural-setting county and the way of life we know.”

Don Haddix's picture

The number is misleading in the fact it isn't 60% of all Fayette residents. It is 60% of the workforce. 40% work locally. The rest don't work, as in being in school, stay at home parents, unemployed, retired, etc.

And the 60% is for all that go out of county regardless of where they go. The bulk do go to the Southside, not all the way into downtown Atlanta. The Airport area is a big portion.

In 2000 when the official population was just over 91,000 more commuted than they do now. There were about 15,000 MARTA connections from Fayette. In 2007, after a growth to our present around 105,000, a 15,000 growth, mainly retirees with an increasing number already here retiring, the number dropped to 7,500 and continues to shrink.

The total daily traffic on 74 was a little over 31,000 vehicles a day in 2000. So, with a basically flat growth in commuters you please let the rest of us know who is generating that traffic growth from then until now, mainly around 74/85?

There is a lot more to this tax and plan than rail and bus. In the first ten year plan it isn't even in the plan for here. But it is future to that and once locked into this plan we are locked till the end, if there ever is an end to this tax.

<cite><strong>Don Haddix
Peachtree City Mayor</strong></cite>

“<em>The number is misleading in the fact it isn't 60% of all Fayette residents.</em>”
I just took it for granted that the 60% didn't include the pre-school or soccer-mom crowds as the subject was 'commuting' to and from PTC to work.

“<em>The Airport area is a big portion.</em>”
That the 'airport area' is a portion is irrelevant. The fact of the matter is that they leave PTC to work and then have to return at some point in time. As a matter of fact the commute time from the airport to PTC is the part that really stinks to most.

“<em>The total daily traffic on 74 was a little over 31,000 vehicles a day in 2000.</em>”
As per the < a href=””>GA DoT STARS</a> system the traffic counts on Hwy. 74 are:
2009 – 33,770
2008 – 28,630
2007 - 29,700
2006 – 29,730
2005 – 28,100
Please note the significant bump from 2008 – 2009.

“<em>But it is future to that and once locked into this plan we are locked till the end, if there ever is an end to this tax.</em>”
So I ask you what’s the difference?

You want to keep Fayette isolated from the Atlanta job market yet you have no plan to increase high paying jobs locally, nor do you have a selling feature to get high paying employers to move here. Additionally, you’re the single most vocal proponent for yet another local SPLOST of one form or another.

Isolationism isn’t going to pay the ever increasing taxes that PTC is facing.

Contact the folks at DAPC and ask them to show you the average annual salary data for the folks that live and work in PTC and those that live in PTC and work in Atlanta. Then come back to me and tell me who’s paying the bulk of the taxes for PTC.

PTC Observer's picture

Mayor Haddix, thinking to himself. When you don't know the facts, you can just make them up, no one will check.....oops

Here's my read on this, I think everyone here is missing the point on all this, it's called competition. The Mayor doesn't want to belong to ARC because he knows that the regional SPLOST is highly likely to pass. If that happens, his hopes to convince local voters of the wisdom of a Fayette SPLOST goes down the drain. The fact is our citizens are tired of these taxes and the abuse they create. The State Legislature has corrupted the whole concept of "Local" by allowing possiblity of these regional taxes.

I have no knowledge how our State representatives voted on this regional law. So, I won't make it up... but if they voted for it, we should vote them out of office.

NUK_1's picture

I don't think Haddix wants any competition when he tries to convince everyone to vote for the Debt Splost he's been championing lately.

Then again, Haddix is part of the old group of fossils that expects all the commuters in PTC to pay for everything(especially if it's Rec, something not for retirees so that's cool with him) and buys 100% into the Steve Brown vision that retirees are great for the community because they ain't got no kids and don't drive that much. Ugh.

Lived in Fayette for close to 40 years and PTC for about half of that. There's no future in PTC after the incredibly bad "leadership" of the past two mayors and now the current buffoon. There are much better(and cheaper) places for retirees and also for people who no longer have kids in the FC system.

PTC has become anti-business, anti-common sense, and anti-anything that isn't from the 1950s. Hello. No more impact fees that fueled all the great services that now have to be paid for and even a 1.25millage increase won't even put a small dent into.

Whether or not you or any other of the Haddix critics will admit it, Fayette County is the most sought after area in the South Metro area. This is onlybecause we were lucky enough NOT to have any Interstate Highway. I grumbled for 40 years driving to and from here to downtown Atlanta to work. I paid a price, but I did it to have a place to live where there were good public schools for my kids, and a decent neighborhood to live in. Fayette County, as I've said before, is an oasis. Just ask the other Haddix dissenters whether they would prefer to move to Clayton, Henry, or South Fulton County. Then, ask these same people how they would like living next to a bus or rail line. If you want to live in an area like this, you have to pay for it. Nobody will give you the best of everything, even for a price.

It says quite a lot for the desirability of Fayette County to have folks commuting to places as far away as Alpharetta. But that's their choice. Look at Alpharetta, a good place to live, but a veritable parking lot in terms of traffic to Atlanta, Marietta, and Norcross. I grew up in Buckhead, but would no longer want to live there. We can either try and keep our rural characteristics, or we can build more roads to nowhere for tens of millions of dollars at a whack. Let's face it folks...we're boxed in by I-75 and I-85, and we must depend upon other counties to make any appreciable difference in terms of getting to Atlanta. We just don't have the power to cut roads through other counties. How do you suppose we would like having 800,000 people like Gwinnett County does? Up in North Metro, it was almost a contest to see which county could be the fastest growing county in the U.S. If the Interstate Highways had gone straight South from ATL, our style of living would have done the same, and we'd be well on our way to becoming the next county of 500,000 or more.

Yes, Roswell, Alpharetta, Stockbridge, Doraville, Tucker and Woodstock, to name a few towns, wanted rural characteristics, too, but they got the roads and the buses. Now, look at the traffic they're dealing with... 2 hours to Atlanta. Marta and the bus companies have stayed in the red while astronomically increasing their fares and cutting service. Horrible management and planning. Let's us not do the same. You can't justify a rail or bus stop in rural areas because of not enough riders. So you start with the stops in town, and from there, it's all downhill. Those who want to ride Marta can take the WFB (if it's ever built) to Highway 138 where you'll find a Marta stop.

Theoretically, more roads, buses and rapid transit look good in terms of moving traffic. But what they bring with them doesn't look so good. People just can't understand that when you open up the county, you just may not want what comes in. People having problems with the commute should look into flextime and carpools. I saved an hour a day by going on flextime.

You've got to be patient in terms of traffic. The county is not growing in terms of new housing. Only about 20 residential building permits were issued in 2009, and it'll be years before this picks up. The only logical answer is to quit, secede, or do whatever else we can do to get out of the ARC. If all this interchange hoopla comes to Fayette County, 30 years from now we'll all look back and say "why did we ever do it?" You can't have your cake and eat it too.

If Fayette County and Fayetteville want to join the Metro group instead of the rural group, does it make any difference what PTC wants? Won't the majority rule?

This is a confusing situation anyway. First, is it required to belong to one or the other by law? Second, If we have to vote on it and don't want a 30 year tax for transportation (turn it down) what are the consequences?

What is the plan for the money anyway in Fayette County?
If we do not belong nor vote for the tax will we miss out on funding from the tax entirely? Is it OK if we miss out?
Is this thing a "state law?" Did Sonny do it?

As it is a vote for a 30 year tax will not pass in Fayette County. What happens then?
Confusing and no one is making it clear who knows.

Don Haddix's picture

By law to move the County Commission must support it at least by a 3-2 vote. That is possible, if not this year but next with two supporting votes coming on.

City side the law is to total the number of residents living within the cities, not the whole county, and have support from Councils representing 50% or more of the population. Peachtree City has more than 50% so we actually determine if we move or stay from the city perspective.

But this being an issue that impacts the whole County I have been talking to every city. We need to start building more unity and discussion whether the city be 200 or 36,000. We need to be more of one voice.

The consequences of the Roundtable voting down the tax is 50% contribution to future projects versus the current 20%. In the 2012 Regional vote if defeated the consequences are 30% contribution. If passed it drops to 10%.

But it it reaches the Regional vote, barring something amazing, it will pass. Atlanta Mayor Reed is out there pushing hard to pass it. In the poll even with all 5 suburban counties opposing it strongly it still passed because of the population difference between suburban and Urban counties.

If it passes in the Region but Fayette votes against it we pay the tax. There is no opting out. It is a Regional all or none tax.

It is a State Law formulated by mainly pro Transit legislators and Transit groups. It is State wide over 12 Regions. The Legislature has said it is stone. No changes in the base legislation.

The Fayette portion, about $4.6 million per year, must be spent on transportation only and on existing projects, so your looking at our County Transportation Plan road and Transit plans in the main.

For PTC, it is about $1 million a year, versus $3.3 million per year in a local SPLOST, for comparison. Our projects are mainly cart paths, which do not qualify as of now under TSPLOST, but do under SPLOST, so what projects is a good question.

This is truly a Regional issue. It redefines Home Rule and local (TSPLOST) to mean region, not city or county.

<cite><strong>Don Haddix
Peachtree City Mayor</strong></cite>

ginga1414's picture

Why would any Fayette County resident want people in Fulton County and beyond making decisions about how we are going to live our lives? If we continue to participate in the ARC, we might as well all pack up and move back to Atlanta.

Mike King's picture

The priority in this mess should be how do we as a region defeat this monster. Either way, we as citizens are likely to be burdened with a SPLOST for upwards of thirty years. I simply do not see the Legislature approving an exception for Fayette after all, they are politicians and are addicted to tax revenues.

Having been a member of the ARC since 1991 Fayette County has little to show for it's annual dues being paid ($100,000.00 per year). Can those counties of the Three Rivers Commission say they've done better? Well maybe their dues are less. Point is, little is to be gained by those of us in the South Metro.

Politicians of the ilk of Haddix, Steele, and Smith need to get off their high horses and remind the State of Georgia that the citizens of Fayette are Taxed Enough Already. Imagine the incompetents of Fulton and Dekalb counties with 30 years of SPLOST money to waste, and to think those of us in Fayette are upset over an ill conceived bypass to nowhere.

Mike King's picture

A few side issues to be sure, but the UNITED voice should be to kill the damn tax! To hell with what Kasim Reed wants because only a small minority of Fayette Countians would side with him anyway.

Even with your Three Rivers Proposal, we are still obligated to pay the tax.

Keep raising taxes and expanding the size of government, eventually your population base will have shrunk to the point that your revenue source has all moved away. Ever wonder why cities such as Senoia and Sharpsburg have flourished the last few years while Peachtree City has not?

Mayor Haddix,

Well stated. You are very perceptive about the Transportation SPLOST and the Atlanta Metro ARC. All their plans may be well intended but the history of the Govenor's Office, General Assembly, State Transportation Office, MARTA, Georgia Toll Authority and others clearly shows that Fayette County would not stand a chance of having significant input into the process or indeed any funding for roads or rail service in Fayette. We would only get the privledge of helping to pay for all the new projects in Atlanta, Fulton and Gwinnett Counties.

I agree that we need to get out of the Metro ARC and join the Three Rivers Commission ASAP. The only Fayette politicians who still favor the Metro ARC are those with some vested interest in trying to staurate Fayette County with excessive housing, roads and people. Simply put we need to preserve the quality of our lifestyle in Fayette County.

The voters reaction to the last Fayette County SPLOST and the debacle of the bypass roads to nowhere shows that it will be a very long time before another SPLOST receives a positive vote. The voters learned that the political leadership mislead them.

If you will drive about Fayette County, you will clearly see that a number of existing roads are breaking down and not being maintained as they should. Several roads that have been repaved under the existing SPLOST reflect poor planning and shoddy construction efforts. What we needed was a simple bypass road around downtown Fayetteville and alot of repaving and upgrading of existing roads. That did not happen.

One thing about Fayette voters and property owners: We have long memories and we will be at the polls. Good luck in your efforts to get out of the Metro ARC.

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