PTC Mayor Haddix to advocate for fix of Hwy. 74-I-85 interchange
Peachtree City Mayor Don Haddix said Tuesday that one of his top priorities to push for inclusion on the list of projects for a potential 10-year regional transportation sales tax will be the often-clogged interchange of Ga. Highway 74 and Interstate 85 just outside Fayette County in Fairburn.
While that’s a worthy project, Haddix is skeptical it will qualify for funding through the 1-cent tax, which will be up for voter approval on a region-wide basis in July 2012.
Haddix noted that such regional projects will be prioritized, and based on the large number of projects considered for the rest of metro Atlanta, he’s not confident the Hwy. 74/I-85 interchange will get any of the regional funding.
Haddix said improvements to the interchange of I-85 and I-285 are also important to Fayette County as well, and he would like to push forward that project as well.
“Neither one of those projects meets the criteria,” Haddix said in an interview Tuesday morning. “... We don’t have money to cover them all. My position is those projects are not going to get funded, even though I will push for them.”
Haddix is one of Fayette’s two representatives on a 21-person roundtable that will guide the list of projects that will be listed on the ballot for funding under the regional transportation tax. The other representative is the Fayette County Commission Chairman, which is currently Jack Smith, though he will be replaced the first of the year as his term as commissioner ends and the commission elects a new chairman.
The 21-member roundtable, which includes two representatives from each county and the mayor of Atlanta, now is in the process of developing the criteria from which projects will be judged.
Haddix’s bid to switch Fayette from the metropolitan Atlanta Regional Commission to the more rural Three Rivers Regional Commission fell flat last week as the Peachtree City Council voted down a measure 3-2 that would have petitioned the Fayette County Commission to pursue the change.
Haddix was basing part of his logic on the possibility that the more conservative Three Rivers region would vote down the 10-year regional transportation SPLOST, which would allow Fayette voters to consider a local SPLOST which would raise about $20 million for local transportation projects, “if needed,” Haddix said.
At last week’s City Council meeting, Haddix showed a poll that determined that the 10-year regional transportation SPLOST would pass thanks to overwhelming support of the largest populated counties in metro Atlanta.
Even if the 10-year regional transportation SPLOST is defeated in Fayette County, the 1 percent sales tax will be assessed here if it is approved by voters region-wide in the 10-county Atlanta Regional Commission area.
Haddix said the legislation creating the regional transportation tax was flawed in that it hurts suburban counties like Fayette since they stand to lose more in the regional sales taxes than they will receive in transportation projects.
“I’m not anti-Atlanta, but this is just a bad bill,” Haddix said.