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Regional transportation project list widens

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POSTED: August 8, 2011 12:02 p.m.

Thanks to roughly $375 million in state supplements, the executive committee of the Regional Transportation Roundtable expanded its list of infrastructure projects that could be placed on next summer’s Transportation Investment Act referendum.
GDOT representative Todd Long told the group Wednesday that his department could offer about $375,265,241 in supplements for projects that have great regional impact — good news for the 10-county board, which initially agreed on a project list that exceeded its $1.2 billion budget by about $300 million.
The plans still are subject to change, pending citizen input and the approval of the Coastal Regional Commission Transportation Roundtable, according to transportation planner Ron Sadowski. The committee is required to hold two public hearings on the list before the roundtable votes on it in September.
The hearings will be held Aug. 24 in the northern and southern parts of the region. The first meeting will be from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. at the Bloomingdale City Hall in Chatham County, and a later meeting at the CRC office in Brunswick will be from 4-6 p.m.
The final list must be approved by Oct. 15. Once the list is finalized, the projects will be combined into a single voter referendum on the 2012 primary ballot, Sadowski said.
If passed, the item would levy a 1-percent sales tax throughout the region for a 10-year period. Seventy-five percent, or an estimated $1.2 billion, of the funds generated, would go toward these transportation projects and the remaining 25 percent toward each local government.
The projects would be funded and completed within the next decade, paced according to the stream of funds, he said.
At its July meeting, the group adopted a preliminary list that would fund seven projects each in Liberty and Bryan counties and two in Long County— but with the addition of GDOT funds, the project list since has been expanded, using input from CRC staff and community metropolitan planning organizations. 
Under the new plan, Liberty County would receive $175,711,414 for 12 projects, including construction of a Hinesville bypass, which the state agreed to match at 80 percent.
It also would include the widening of 15th Street from E.G. Miles Parkway to the Fort Stewart boundary, a $20,675,500 project. The project list also calls for improvements along U.S. Highway 84 and State Road 119 and an expansion of Liberty Transit Services operations.
The state help allows Bryan County to add two projects to its list, which previously included construction of an interchange at I-95 and Belfast Keller Road and improvements at I-16 and U.S. Highway 280. The county is slated to receive $79,973,782 in funds.
Both of the new projects will affect U.S. Highway 80, with a bridge replacement over the Ogeechee River and widening from U.S. Highway 280 to the river, with both projects totaling $12,551,920.
The state did not match any of Long County’s tentative projects, which include the realigning and widening of Stafford Dairy Road from State Road 57 to U.S. Highway 84 and construction of an overpass on State Road 57. Under the plan, Long County would receive $54,263,314.

 

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