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Ga. DOT: Haddix wrong on project list

Peachtree City Mayor Don Haddix last week complained that there are no regional transportation projects that would benefit Fayette County should voters in metro Atlanta approve a regional one-percent transportation tax in 2012.

The region, however, hasn’t even gotten to the point where transportation projects are being considered for the list that will be brought forth to voters in the region-wide referendum, state officials said this week.

It is the responsibility of Mayor Don Haddix and County Commission Chairman Jack Smith to bring forward some project ideas that would benefit Fayette County, DOT officials said. And potential projects are already being accepted for consideration, though they won’t be formally considered until sometime next year.

“People are sending us projects and obviously we have tons of projects already on the books,” said Jill Goldberg of the Georgia Department of Transportation.

Preliminary estimates are that a regional transportation sales tax would raise $30.7 million in Fayette County, while the county will get back 15 percent of that figure, or $4.6 million, split up among the cities and the unincorporated county to spend as local governments see fit on various non-regional transportation projects.

The remaining $26.1 million — or 85 percent — would be sent away for regional projects, some of which might include Fayette County.

The legislation creating the regional transportation sales tax option as a referendum requires that the vote be tallied on a regional basis. That means that even if Fayette voters shoot down the tax, the tax will be assessed in Fayette if voters in the region collectively approve the tax.

Haddix contends that the “outer loop” project to create another road network outside of Interstate 285 is still on the drawing board and could eat up a large chunk of the tax funds collected in Fayette County. Moreover, he says, the maps show part of the outer loop cutting through Fayette County.

Both Haddix and Smith, who next year will be replaced by his successor as commission chairman, are members of the 21-member roundtable group that will ultimately approve of the total list of regionwide projects that will be placed before voters for consideration in the 2012 July primary.

Haddix, Smith and Smith’s successor will have to convince their fellow members of that regional transportation roundtable group of the necessity of Fayette’s regional transportation projects to be included in the regional funding, Goldberg said.

There is not a requirement that projects must straddle two counties in order to qualify for regional transportation funding, Goldberg said. That is contrary to an assertion by Haddix that such a requirement exists.

“Road projects have to cross county lines and have to go through more than one county to qualify,” Haddix said Monday. “We have no such projects. There are no such projects being proposed.”

Furthermore, Haddix said, according to state data there are no “congestion points” in Fayette County, although one making the list that significantly affects Fayette commuters is the interchange of Ga. Highway 74 and Interstate 85 just across the Fayette-south Fulton county line in Fairburn.

Fayette County is allowed to propose projects for regional funding even if they would improve traffic between here and Coweta County, even though Coweta County is not a part of the metro Atlanta region, Goldberg said.

Haddix has argued that such projects would not be eligible for funding via the metro Atlanta regional transportation sales tax since Coweta County is part of the Three Rivers Regional Commission, which comprises mostly rural counties south of Atlanta, including Spalding and Pike counties.

Haddix is leading an effort for Fayette County to switch from the Atlanta Regional Commission to the Three Rivers commission. Such a move will require a vote from the Peachtree City Council, the Fayette County Board of Commissioners and also approval from the Georgia legislature through local legislation.

Haddix contends that the regional transportation tax would be approved by metro Atlanta counties and the end result would be that Fayette County’s share of the tax would be used to fund projects everywhere else in Atlanta with little direct benefit to Fayette County.

Lending credence to that possibility is a potential lack of already-programmed DOT projects in Fayette County. To qualify for the regional sales tax funding, DOT wants the projects to be already underway in some manner such as right of way acquisition, engineering or environmental studies, said DOT’s Goldberg.

While there may or may not be any major pending road projects in Fayette County from the Department of Transportation’s perspective, Fayette and Peachtree City specifically in the past five years has benefitted from the road widening of Ga. Highway 54 West in Peachtree City from Hwy. 74 to the Fayette-Coweta line, and also the widening of Hwy. 74 from Hwy. 54 southward to Cooper Circle. A second phase of the Hwy. 74 widening will extend from Cooper Circle to Ga. Highway 85 and is expected to be completed next year.

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Comments

Don Haddix's picture

We do not have any Regional Transportation plans for Fayette on the books or being contemplated crossing county lines to qualify for the 85%.

The local project within Fayette come from the 15%. That is a different slice of the pie.

The widening of 74 is project that was on DOT's books for a couple of decades, if I remember correctly. It has nothing to do with HB 277 and we were not asked if we wanted it. We were told it was going to happen.

So, when they say a project does not have to straddle county lines that is an unqualified statement. For the 85%, it must be a multiple county enhancing project. For the 15% it is for county and city projects.

Currently, in PTC, the projects we have on the books are golf cart path related. Currently they do not qualify for our 15% portion of the funding.

To submit a project it must be an existing proposal with engineering studies, etc, in place. That was a direct statement from the meetings I have attended. We have none for the 85% unless it would be an ARC project we did not take part in planning.

Yes, we could propose a project between here and Coweta, but we would have to then work in cooperation with Three Rivers. We could also propose the same project if we were in Three Rivers for a share of the 85% within that Region. The only such plan that comes to mind where there are studies in place is the TDK extension.

Bottom line remains we are looking at the 85% going out of county for the benefit of others. I believe the tax should be voted down or if it does pass not for the type of projects wanted by ARC.

We are not the only county considering leaving ARC for the very same reasons.

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

Joining 3 Rivers is not an answer. Fayette Co anti-tax, bad E-splosh taste in the mouth won't matter. Coweta, Pike, Spalding, et al, will see this as the Golden Goose or the Cash Cow, No Respect there. The comment that the tangled mess in Fairburn is their issue is short sighted. This has been building for years. First off there would be no Fairburn problem if everyone from Coweta & Fayette would find another way to work.
The xenophobic aversion to mass transit needs to be "Git Over IT." Mass transit does not lower property values. Mass transit does not give easy access to crimamammals access to your stuff. It's really hard to get a tv on a train & avoid all those pesky cameras now. It's really easier to steal your car from the parking garage & come on down. Can anyone who has ever been there imagine traffic in Chicago or NYC w/out rail? The crime issue is a whole another issue. Our society as we like to think it can not exist where 1% of the population controls ("earns") 23% of the wealth. From that stat it only gets worse.

Mike King's picture

With 1% controlling 23% of the wealth, would you care to comment on the percentage of taxes contributed by the other 77%?

You are correct about mass transit in/around major cities in that each of us should make the best of the inevitable.

Observerofu's picture

"The truth is that the vast majority of federal income taxes are paid by high-income earners. According to the most recent IRS data available, the top 10 percent of households - with incomes roughly $100,000 or greater - pay roughly 70 percent of all federal income taxes. That share is up from just below 50 percent in 1980. If you include the top quarter of all taxpayers, the share balloons to 85 percent."

http://www.taxfoundation.org/research/show/22335.html

Just correcting a common misconception that the "Rich" don't pay their fair share.

btw- this data is 3-4 years old current estimates are higher.

"Neither the wisest constitution nor the wisest laws will secure the liberty and happiness of a people whose manners are universally corrupt"
-Samuel Adams
Illegitimi non carborundum

(Using the word everyone somewhat loosely) at least everyone seems to want that number and consider themselves common if they don't!

The words "fair share" must be defined.

Is it in dollars or in percentage?

Guy making $40,000 (the average) pays say, $6000
Guy making $100,000 pays say, $20,000

One pays 15% net; the other 20% net.

Fair or unfair? They both have the same BASIC necessary expenses.

By the way they both have college degrees, but there are only so many jobs for people mean enough to be bosses!

is not the answer. Why don't we just take 90 percent from the "rich"? Support the Fairtax. BTW, I am with Haddix on this one. Support Freedom Vote November 2nd. -GP

What is the difference in progressive income tax and progressive pay for work?

Is $8.00 and hour for labor fair if a Wall Street hedge manager makes $100,000,000? (Probably easier work also). (Probably more crooked also).

What about Corporate executives who make $40,000,000 and their second and third line managers make $1-200,000? Fair?

How about factory workers at $20.00 (42,000 per yr.) per hour and several thousand executives there make millions per year. Fair?

How about PTC executives making $1-200,000 per year and everyone else between $25,000 and 50,000? Fair?

What the market will bear, huh? BS

Observerofu's picture

as a McDonalds employee?

This is where it goes when people advocate wage fairness. Life is not fair. I earn what I make, but if the Government decides what is fair then where is my incentive to do more?

"Neither the wisest constitution nor the wisest laws will secure the liberty and happiness of a people whose manners are universally corrupt"
-Samuel Adams
Illegitimi non carborundum

is apparently all you make! IMHO we crossed the fair line years ago and have moverd into theft!!!. -GP

I didn't compare them to hamburger flippers!

How about ten times as much? Is that fair? 20 times as much? 30 times as much? (that is about 3/4 a million a year!) OK?

We could pay the surgeon millions if we had insurance that didn't cost all of our salary!

work. Here is my definition of fair pay. If an employee brings value to a business in excess of his pay than he is worth it!!! Everywhere socialism has been tried it has failed. Socialism kill's the human spirit. I believe in free markets unemcumbered by excessive goverment regulations. Our current government is busy creating an unsustainable evironment for business. Vote for freedom on November 2nd. -GP

You want to eat all them food germs, huh?
Want to take all that killer medicine without regulations?

Want semis to drive without safety checks, huh? Want the drivers to drive til they drop huh?

Want electrical systems in your house that will burn it down!
Want outdoor toilets sitting over wells in the back yard?

not the answer. Where did you get that idea? We need a federal government, just not the out of control behemoth we have now. A much smaller, fisically responsible government IS the answer. Here are a few novel ideas: 1)Read and understand all bills BEFORE you vote. 2)Stop printing money and spending money you don't have, balance the budget. 3)Term limits for congress. 4)All elected officals should be honest and forthright with the citizens, don't say one thing and do another. Remember, you work for us. That would be a start. -GP

Let's not stop there: small fed. govt; read and understand everything; stop borrowing money; term limits (voted on by people who don't want them); honest and FORTHRIGHT politicians, yeah right; etc.

let's also: elect only evangelical representatives---senators must have a PhD in religion; hangings every day at the Washington monument of back-sliders; all civil servants promoted to Bishops instead of servants; train the military by Huns; stop political meetings in AME and Independent churches; stop fried chicken and biscuits being served in churches for four hours; and put a big "A" on all women who tempt men.

has anything to do with religion, racism, or extremism, although some would like to categorize patriotism as "extremism". Nice try. -GP

Observerofu's picture

He/she has an opinion for just about everything and most are at best asinine.

"Neither the wisest constitution nor the wisest laws will secure the liberty and happiness of a people whose manners are universally corrupt"
-Samuel Adams
Illegitimi non carborundum

Gort's picture

OofU, speaking of ‘asinine,’ I see you retired your picture of the chicken with the ‘Goldline’ beak and replaced it with,… what is this?

Are you trying to tell us you’re coming out of the water closet?

Remember: If you think Social Security and Medicare are worth saving, vote Democratic.

Klaatu barada nikto

I would go get Klaatu out of jail, bring him to the ship, and then bring him back alive but I don't have a barada nikto!

Just take one look at my avatar and you can see Gort that I am a few generations behind your technology.

Just don't cut the electricity off everywhere like I know you are going to do.
We will try to do better.

Gort's picture

CHR, you're safe, banana eaters have nothing to fear from me but remember these words.

[quote] Klaatu: I am fearful when I see people substituting fear for reason.[/quote]

Remember: If you think Social Security and Medicare are worth saving, vote Democratic.

Yeah If an Aborigine, or Chinaman ever becomes President of the USA, I fear that the great fear that would generate would certainly override reason also.

We would not only have TEA parties but Nazi parties!

As to them bananas, were they in the movie?

Gort's picture

CHR, my opinion is the Republican's, and the Teaparty especially, want to elect more and more 'empty suits' willing to do the bidding of the special interest. If you want proof, look at their candidates and listen to what they are saying.

What I see going on is, moneyed up special interest are pushing a right wing extremist philosophy. They are trying to marginalize my voice in my own country.

Remember: If you think Social Security and Medicare are worth saving, vote Democratic.

Gort's picture

[quote]George Barley: Why doesn't the government do something, that's what I'd like to know.

Mr. Krull: What can they do, they're only people just like us.

George Barley: People my foot, they're democrats.[/quote]

Remember: If you think Social Security and Medicare are worth saving, vote Democratic.

Observerofu's picture

respect for our money.

"Neither the wisest constitution nor the wisest laws will secure the liberty and happiness of a people whose manners are universally corrupt"
-Samuel Adams
Illegitimi non carborundum

Gort's picture

OofU, looks more like a Goldline tax shelter to me. You better not jiggle that handle.

Remember: If you think Social Security and Medicare are worth saving, vote Democratic.

:)

[quote]Remember, you work for us. That would be a start. -GP[/quote]

<STRONG>The reality</STRONG> They work for who pays for their re-election! Less than 40% OF THE ELECTORATE bother to vote - the other 60% sit at home and complain while the big business guys have the legislators wrapped around their money-grubbing finger. WAKE UP!

Da-- that would do it. People wake up!

If any one of you 'Peachtree City Puffs' would wake up you know it will happen. You cannot continue to live in your little bubble, you can fight it but it will happen, maybe not in the lifetime I have left on earth but in yours. Mass Transit would be a blessing to many unemployed and earners of less than $250,000, huh crap even less than $100,000.

PTC Observer's picture

Nor can we exist where 51% of the population robs the other 49%, at least not forever.

This country is rapidly moving towards an oligargy. If you want to see what this country could look like in 50 yrs or less go to Mexico. I haven't been to Mexico City in 35 yrs but I doubt it has gotten any better. You do not want your children stepping over the downtroden or beggars on the way to school. You do not want to live only in a 2-tier society. I know my bent is much more left leaning than most but I truly believe that as a rule, no head of any company or organization should make more than 30x what the lowest wage earner makes. However that is equalized... You must wonder why the Warren Buffets of the world supported Obama. Not because he hopes to spend $250 mil to be the gov of Cali or a senator from Conn. Money is the root of all evil. It is also hell w/out. http://money.cnn.com/2006/08/29/news/economy/wealth_gap/

PTC Observer's picture

A SPLOST that the Mayor is against!

I am with you Mr. Mayor, let them go tap into someone elses pocket.

Mike King's picture

Elected officials and prospective candidates from each of the 'outside' counties should voice their opposition to this tax (or their support) so as to make it a central issue of the Metro Atlanta Region for 2012 elections. Fayette County alone cannot defeat the bill, but by making it a centerpiece type issue for those of us fed up with ever increasing taxes, maybe there is hope.

The problem Fayette County now faces is a lack of respect by GADOT for one of its representatives to the commission. Should the other member eventually be Steve Brown, our county may have no voice at all. As an example, can anyone remember a state agency rebuking a seated Mayor in their home newspaper just one week after his editorial?

PTC Observer's picture

How do you propose that we go about making it a central issue?

Where are our current representatives on this issue? Didn't they support the passage of the legislation to make a Regional T-SPLOST possible?

You might as well hush about this, it will pass.

It is exactly like the EFB, it will be done.

SPLOSTS are now the only hope to build roads and repair infrastructure! Citizens now will refuse any such additions to their budgets or the purchase of local bonds for such work.

Whether the "needy" areas for such roads, etc., can force all of us to help pay----isn't that exactly what we do now with 90% of federal projects? (Wars, Defense, Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid, Aid to the States who will not even raise enough money for their schools, roads, etc.?)

If left to localities there would be NO INTERSTATES, NO FEMA, LITTLE MILITARY, NO THREAT TO FOREIGN NATIONS, AND CONSTANT FIGHTING BETWEEN THE 50 STATES!

YOU FOLKS ARE TALKING "POLITICS" FOR VOTES, THAT'S ALL!

Mike King's picture

To begin, letters to editors, State Representatives, local politicians and prospective ones, and I could go on, but the message has to be generated locally throughout the region. Perhaps even the local TEA Parties, assuming they really mean what they say, could test their mettle.

If sitting representatives supported the measure, and it is likely they did, maybe it's time for some serious competition. I've seen the angst over taxes inside I-285 as well as outside, and I believe it can be defeated.

Perhaps it would help to know how much GADOT takes in on every gallon of gasoline or diesel. The feds get something like 18.4 cents per gallon and each state levies their tax separately, but I would be surprised if the Georgia amount is less. I will find out shortly.

Cyclist's picture

The last time I checked, the DOT had to dip into the "general fund" because gasoline taxes are not adequate. At least that's what was claimed.

Caution - The Surgeon General has determined that constant blogging is an addiction that can cause a sedentary life style.

Mike King's picture

If true regarding GADOT and the general fund, it is indeed a shame and unlike private enterprise, no one is held accountable.

Mike King's picture

From what I could find Georgians pay 44.4 cents per gallon for gas and 52.2 cents per gallon for diesel which includes the 18.4 for the feds. That's a hell of a lot of tax revenue considering the price of tags and ad valorem that is additional.

The income has to come from somewhere! If not gas, elsewhere.

How about you drive a Cooper (one only) and you won't burn much gas?

Many rode horses during the Great Depression, or walked for miles.

Of course you would need a stall and a hay and corn patch.

Oh yeah, I have seen a President and his administration rebuked unmercifully 20 months into a major catastrophe!
Even given the blame for the Bank and car bailouts that Bush and his Secretary of the Treasury did! A bad recession was coming no matter if Ronald Reagan had arisen and took over when President Obama did!

It may also still continue and is likely.

I suppose the answer was for Bush to do nothing and for Obama to do nothing--allowing the banks to collapse and the car companies to close, and the money houses (AIG) to fold!

Then they would have received the same reputation Hoover did for doing nothing!

Hey it was either debt or raising taxes, or a Depression. It had gone to far to happen otherwise.

Stopping all the spending possible (which the public wouldn't stand for 85%) would not have been nearly enough anyway due to the terrible situation.

Even allowing all welfare recipients to get nothing, all Medicaids to get nothing, all bridges to nowhere to get nothing, one-half of the civil servants and military laid off, would not have prevented a lengthy recession!

Then unemployment would have been 30% as they now count it----40-45% real!

I have heard no workable proposals in 20 months by the TEAS, right wingers, or any of the democrats trying to get re-elected propose anything of significance that would resolve the problem, not in 20 months not even 20 years!

We have no choice but to go one way or the other: Debt or hunger.

Mike King's picture

No choice, huh? What happens when no one will extend additional credit, for any reason?

I cannot speak for you, but I recently acquired a small farm. Hopefully, I can avoid the hunger scenario.

cogitoergofay's picture

Having met Mayor Haddix I have infinitely more faith in what he says than the state Department of Transportation.

Mr. Haddix is totally correct about his rationale for leaving ARC.

Give 'em hell, Don.

PTC Observer's picture

Do you mean that you think the DOT and ARC have a political agenda.

I am shocked, shocked!!

And how about Mayor Haddix, pure as the driven snow?

Ready... Fire.... Aim...

ginga1414's picture

Mayor Haddix has taken the time to give us far far more information than we have been provided in the past. In fact, I would dare say, we have never been provided any information concerning what the ARC has been up to. One of our current representatives and our former representative on the ARC Transportation Board have diligently tried to keep Fayette County voters in the dark for many years.

I greatly admire Mayor Haddix for standing by the voters and urge him to continue to keep us informed and listen to the people.

Many thanks, Mr. Mayor!

Anyone who thinks letting the people of Clayton, Fulton, Dekalb, Atlanta, etc. decide our fate is plain nuts. Get us out of there.

ginga1414's picture

Well said. I completely agree!

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