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PTC sacks commission change

A plan hatched by Peachtree City Mayor Don Haddix to perhaps avoid a 1 percent sales tax for regional transportation initiatives is likely dead in the water after his own city council voted a measure down 3-2.

Haddix proposed petitioning the Fayette County Commission to initiate a process that would result in Fayette County leaving the Atlanta Regional Commission planning agency and joining the Three Rivers Regional Commission instead.

That would have lumped Fayette County with Coweta and a host of other rural counties south of Atlanta including Spalding, Upson and Heard counties.

Councilwoman Kim Learnard noted that 2008 Census data showed that 73 percent of Fayette residents commute outside of the county for work, and of those people, 77 percent work in a county that is part of the Atlanta Regional Commission, which includes the counties of Fulton, DeKalb, Cobb, Clayton, Gwinnett and others.

Learnard said Fayette officials should be concerned with where its residents live and work in terms of planning future regional transportation projects. She also noted that Haddix, who is a member of the 21-person regional board that will devise a project list for the sales tax, is responsible for bringing projects up for consideration.

Haddix contended that no Fayette County transportation projects qualified for funding from the tax revenues, but minutes later he also suggested that the Three Rivers counties might be more amenable to approving regional transportation projects.

Councilwoman Vanessa Fleisch questioned how that could be possible since both regional commissions have to follow the same deadlines for project submissions. Haddix was unable to explain that discrepancy.

Without the approval of the Peachtree City Council, the initiative will be dead in the water, and time is of the essence as the measure not only requires approval of the City Council and the Fayette County Commission, but also approval via local legislation initiated in the Georgia legislature.

Haddix contended that the Three Rivers counties were far less likely to vote in the regional transportation sales tax in 2012 than the counties in the Atlanta Regional Commission.

The measure was voted down 3-2 with Learnard, Fleisch and Councilman Eric Imker in favor and Haddix joining Councilman Doug Sturbaum in opposition.

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

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