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MacDuff extension close to making list

The extension of MacDuff Parkway in northwestern Peachtree City is one step closer to making the final cut for funding through a potential regional sales tax.

An amendment to add it to the list got a unanimous thumbs-up from the Atlanta Regional Transportation Roundtable earlier this week. That vote, however, sets it up for a final vote Oct. 13 when the roundtable is expected to finalize its list of projects for funding with the anticipated $6.14 billion expected by the 10-year tax.

The project is seen as a potential bypass around the intersection of Ga. highways 54 and 74 for residents living off MacDuff Parkway, and potentially for commuters going through Peachtree City into western Coweta County. The road would be extended from its current terminus northward, with a bridge over the CSX railroad, to link with Old Senoia Road and ultimately Ga. Highway 74 north.

To accommodate the MacDuff extension, roundtable member and Fayetteville Mayor Ken Steele has offered to remove funding for a large-scale project in his city that would combine Ga. Highway 92 and Hood Avenue. That $6.4 million project is already slated for funding from the county’s 2003 transportation sales tax.

Even with the removal of the Fayetteville project, the MacDuff extension will still be short $810,000, and perhaps more because the current cost estimate is based on 2007 figures, officials said. Asphalt prices have increased significantly since the initial estimated cost of $7.2 million was compiled, the city council was told Thursday night.

The $810,000 shortfall can easily be made up by a projected $10 million Peachtree City is projected to receive for local transportation projects should the regional tax be approved by voters, officials said.

The MacDuff extension was initially slated to be built by two developers who planned to build more than 1,000 homes in the recently annexed area. However, the economy has put those projects on hold, and a lawsuit challenging the annexation could potentially gum up the works as well.

That lawsuit, filed by Kedron resident David Worley, is pending on an appeal to the Georgia Supreme Court.

Already on the list for funding in Peachtree City are two large-scale cart path projects on the city’s southside. One will extend from the new Flat Creek path bridge northward toward Crosstown Road. In doing so it will pass a number of businesses in the industrial park including Hoshizaki, Gerresheimer, Panasonic and more.

The second path project will extend east from the Flat Creek path bridge, crossing underneath Ga. Highway 74 at a tunnel that is being built with the road widening.

From there, the path will go south toward the city’s Baseball and Soccer Complex and also north toward more businesses in the industrial park, including the new Sany campus, Cooper Lighting and more.

The vote on the regional tax will occur across all 10 counties in metro Atlanta in July of next year. Because the vote will be tallied amongst all counties together, the possibility exists that Fayette County voters could shoot it down, but if the tax is approved on the aggregate vote it will be implemented here.

Fayette County is tabbed to get some $141.8 million in project funding plus another $45 million that can be spent on any local transportation project for a total return of $186.8 million. This figure does not include the $22.5 million planned for the I-85/Hwy. 74 interchange or any other project outside of Fayette County.

Critics of the proposed tax claim it will become the largest hike tax imposed in Georgia history. Critics also are zeroing in on the fact that about half of the funding will go toward transit projects including both rail and bus efforts.

There are no transit projects proposed to operate in Fayette County.

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