Communities can submit transportation 'wish lists'

The Planning Division of the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) has told local governments they have about two months to put any transportation projects they would like to see developed into the hopper for consideration.

From the suggested proposals will emerge finalists, that, in conjunction with the state Transportation Investment Act of 2010, will lead to a referendum on a one-cent sales tax.

Voters in the state's twelve regions will then decide whether to tax themselves, in order to fund the projects.

The initial projects will be presented Todd Long, director of planning for GDOT, to the 12 Regional Transportation Roundtables, which include officials who represent the 12 regions of Georgia, said Jill Goldberg, deputy press secretary for GDOT.

Goldberg said the initial lists should be prepared without consideration of the cost of the projects. "The final list of projects, [however], needs to be strategic in nature, be appealing to the public, and must be deliverable," said Long.

Clayton and Henry counties fall under the Atlanta Regional Commission, according to a GDOT web site, www.it3.ga.gov. Representing Clayton are Clayton Commission Chairman Eldrin Bell and Lake City Mayor Willie Oswalt. Representing Henry are Henry Commission Chairman Elizabeth

"B.J." Mathis and Locust Grove Mayor Lorene Lindsey.

"Compiling the list of potential projects nominated local governments is the next step in the process of determining a final list of approved projects for voters," added Long.

The final list that comes out of the roundtables, from the initial lists, will be funded a one-percent sales tax. Georgians will vote on the tax during the 2012 primary elections.

Local governments should send their requests to their corresponding regional commission, said Goldberg. Project nominations will be accepted until March 30, and the applications can be accessed visiting www.it3.ga.gov. The project criteria for each region is also posted on the web site, she added.

Goldberg said Long will give the executive committee for each roundtable a list of all of the projects that meet their region's approved criteria, as required state law.

"Each regional commission will collect the projects submitted, before forwarding them to the Planning Division," said Long. "The projects submitted should meet the specific criteria adopted each regional roundtable."

In addition, said Goldberg, GDOT is scheduled to provide the draft of the unconstrained list to the executive committee of the Regional Transportation Roundtables early summer.

"This will allow the committee some time to shorten the list, and match the projected revenues from the sales tax, that have been estimated official state economists," she added.

Goldberg said the refined list of the projects will be developed the Roundtables' executive committee, no later than Aug. 15. The Roundtable will vote on the final list before Oct. 15, she said.

For more information, e-mail Long at TIA@dot.ga.gov, or call the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority, at (404) 463-3011.