So, after political fight, what IS on Fayette's transportation list?
Now that we know who is representing Fayette County’s interests on a regional transportation roundtable, what road projects will be on the local list?
Turns out that despite the recent political upheavals over who will represent Fayette County, nobody really knows — or at least nobody’s saying.
According to Fayetteville Mayor Ken Steele — who ousted Peachtree Mayor Haddix from the Fayette slot via a 3-0 vote of the county’s mayors — those initial proposals will not be determined until Fayette’s mayors and the county meet to produce a list and the criteria for the projects is released by DOT in mid-December.
The proposed transportation projects for Fayette County will be presented to the Regional Transportation Roundtable (RTR) and the Georgia Department of Transportation (DOT) as part of the 10-county Atlanta Regional Commission list of area projects to go before voters in mid-2012 in the form of a 1-cent sales tax.
Steele on Monday said roundtable members from the ARC counties will meet on Dec. 17 to hear the approved criteria that the various RTRs across the state will use to compile and submit their lists for the proposed transportation projects. Steele said a five-person executive board will also be elected at the December RTR meeting.
“We don’t know the final criteria. It’s still up in the air,” Steele said.
Prior to the December meeting, said Steele, his expectation is that there will be a meeting of the minds across Fayette County to begin developing a list of transportation-related priorities that can be reviewed and submitted once the criteria is announced.
“I have no doubt that the (local) meeting will happen,” he said.
Steele said it is reasonable to believe that the statewide criteria will involve state highways and the intersections of state highways with interstate highways.
As for the projects that might be generated for consideration by Fayette County, Steele said he expected that some have the potential for making a preliminary list. Steele added that while he does not know the thinking regarding Peachtree City, he did identify potential projects that include other portions of the county and Fayetteville.
Among those Steele cited as potential projects were the widening of Ga. Highway 85 from Starr’s Mill (near the current four-lane widening project at Ga. Highway 74) to Grady Avenue in Fayetteville, Ga. Highway 54 East to the Clayton County line, Ga. Highway 314 to Clayton County and Ga. Highway 92 South to Spalding County.
Yet another potential project, one that would have significance for Fayette and Fulton counties, would be the interchange at Ga. Highway 74 and I-85, said Steele, noting the large number of Fayette residents using the interchange to head north to Atlanta for work.
The bottom line, Steele said, is that the final plan must have something for every county in the 10-county ARC area.
“There has to be something in it for everybody or it won’t have a chance of passing,” he said in reference to the July 2012 vote. “So the ultimate goal is to provide a transportation project list that is of value to the voters.”
And as for being one of Fayette’s two representatives on the RTR, along with the next county commission chairman, and the recent upheaval between Steele and Peachtree City Mayor Don Haddix as to who would be the mayoral representative on the RTR, Steele said his opinion on the upcoming projects does not matter. The goal, he said, is that Fayette have projects on the list that voters can support.
Once the project criteria is established by DOT in mid-December the RTR will determine its list of proposed projects and submit them to DOT where Planning Director Todd Long will submit them to the existing fiscal constraints and return what will likely be a smaller list to the RTR for a final decision.
Steele said at that point the RTR can substitute other projects if desired, as long as they meet the criteria.