As my last year in local elected office winds down, some deep concerns have surfaced that do not bode well for the county.
The state legislature is working Fayette County into a regional funding scheme for mass transit, renaming MARTA to dupe citizens as part of the process.
[Recently], we discussed the alarm of the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) taking ownership of McDonough Road in the south and east parts of our county, creating a new expanded state highway for a much higher volume of cars at higher speeds, unloading traffic from I-75 towards Fayetteville. The GDOT documentation is very clear regarding their intentions.
GDOT’s new State Route 920 will funnel more traffic into Fayetteville, and there is no way for us to disperse the flow in the downtown area, causing a major gridlock issue. We have been discussing this GDOT plan since 2013.
We have seen the consequences of inaction with the intersection of State routes 74 and 54. However, in the case of McDonough Road, the goal is to prevent the additional traffic before it happens.
I have offered a resolution asking GDOT not to add the increased capacity and speed changes to McDonough Road. Several of my colleagues are reluctant.
There was an exchange on letting GDOT go and trying to get them to change their plans behind the scenes even though that has not worked since 2013.
I am imploring our people to remember that GDOT is not a benevolent agency that just wants to spend significant amounts of precious state funds only to help us. GDOT has only one job.
They attempt to mitigate traffic congestion with improvements in the immediate area or rerouting the traffic. In our case, they are rerouting the traffic from the I-75 area to Fayetteville on State Route 54.
Also keep in mind that GDOT is in the process of widening State Route 54 East from Clayton County. That project is also designed to significantly increase capacity to meet increased traffic volume from Clayton and Henry Counties into Fayetteville.
No one has yet to say how we are going to handle the increased volume, especially with the new high-density residential developments in Fayetteville coming on line.
There is lots of moaning and droning about the county’s transportation committee, but that group, charged with bringing recommendations to the Board of Commissioners, has been lethargic at best.
Do we wait until it is too late to do anything meaningful to avert the problem? Do we allow outside interests to grind our future down?
This discussion will continue at our May 10 Board of Commissioners meeting. For our sake, I hope a majority of the board decides to not sit back and roll over.
Steve Brown, Commissioner
Fayette Board of Commissioners
Peachtree City, Ga.