Those unhappy about the traffic in Liberty County have until June 11 to weigh in on Transportation Improvement Program, or TIP, projects slated to be funded between this July and June 2015.
The Hinesville Area Metropolitan Planning Organization still is accepting opinions about the plan.
The federal government requires an update and public comment period every four years for transportation improvement plans that receive federal funds through the Georgia Department of Transportation. The DOT requires an annual update and comment period.
With the July 31 Transportation Investment Act referendum also receiving attention, planners note that this is a separate plan, though passage of the TIA vote could affect the numbers presented in the TIP, according to Sonny Timmerman, executive director of the Liberty Consolidated Planning Commission.
For one, the TIP has more certainty.
“TIA will totally depend on the vote on July 31,” Timmerman said. “The TIP projects are state DOT commitments as to their best commitment at this time knowing the funding. This is their reasonable estimate of the commitment to use the money that’s available to them.”
If the TIA passes in the 10-county Coastal Region, Liberty County stands to receive $174,345,439 for 12 projects on the regional project list, and each of its municipal and county governments stands to receive a cut of 25 percent of the tax revenue for local road maintenance.
Those projects, which include construction of a Flemington Loop from Highway 84 to Fort Stewart Road 47 and safety improvements along several corridors, are dependent on passage of the tax.
In contrast, three of the four main TIP projects for 2013-16 already are slated to be funded and will advance regardless of the TIA passage.
Major projects in the TIP for 2013-16:
• Airport Road widening: This would widen Airport Road to four lanes with sidewalks from Highway 84 in Walthourville to Highway 196 in Hinesville. Though it is a state project, GDOT has delegated the project to Hinesville, which is acquiring right-of-way. A projected $12.4 million for construction is scheduled to be available in July 2013, with equipment on site in late summer.
• Bridge replacement on State Road 119 at Russell Swamp: The bridge is north of Riceboro on E.B. Cooper Highway. Design is underway and right-of-way acquisition will follow. Construction is scheduled to begin after July 2013 for $3 million.
• Veterans Parkway/Frank Cochran Drive widening: This will add two lanes and sidewalks from E.G. Miles Parkway to Hase Road on Fort Stewart. The design is complete and right-of-way acquisition is under way. Construction is authorized to begin in July 2013 with $10 million dedicated.
• Hinesville Bypass: The TIP provides funding for right-of-way acquisition, but not construction of the proposed 12-mile, four-lane road that will extend from Highway 196 East from about a mile northeast of Highway 84, toward the Holmestown area and west to Highway 84 in Long County. Right-of-way acquisition is scheduled to begin in 2014. Funding for the bypass is Liberty County’s primary TIA project.
“If TIA passes, I expect to be driving on the bypass between six and eight years,” Timmerman said. “If it does not pass, it could be as many as 15 to 25.”
For more information about the “Transportation Improvement Program, Fiscal Years 2013-2016,” visit www.thelcpc.org and click on the “HAMPO” tab.