Columbia County officials have started planning what to do with the discretionary funds awarded to each county from the Transportation Investment Act of 2010.
Officials considered a proposed list of projects at a Tuesday Development and Engineering Services Committee meeting.
“These are just things we see that could enhance the life in Columbia County,” Engineering Services Division Director Matt Schlachter said.
Of the $840 million state officials expect to be collected through the TIA, or TSPLOST, program in the 13-county CSRA Region over the next decade, 25 percent is being allocated to counties in the region as transportation discretionary funds. Those funds can be used for transportation projects at the judgement of county leaders.
The proposed list of projects includes turn lanes as needed throughout the county. Commission Chairman Ron Cross was particularly concerned about the addition of turn lanes to William Few Parkway and Hardy-McManus Road.
The proposed list is expected to be approved at the Tuesday commission meeting. Sidewalks for Blue Ridge Drive from Evans to Locks Road to Clark Pointe and on Conn Drive from Sumter Landing to Mullikin Road, the first projects to be considered from the list, also were approved to send forward for final approval Tuesday.
The list also includes completing the multi-use trail along Evans to Locks Road, sidewalks to The Pass, Clark Pointe, Old Evans Road, Stevens Creek Road and Old Trail Road, and intersection improvements on William Few Parkway, Blue Ridge Drive, Old Evans Road, Hereford Farm Road, Evans to Locks Road and Southern Pines Drive.
Schlachter said the projects are proposed and have not yet been designed. Approval at Tuesday’s meeting would allow design and engineering work to begin.
“This is just a list that kind of gives an idea the direction the commission wants to go,” county Administrator Scott Johnson said, adding that projects
can be added, deleted, changed or pushed as necessary.
The projects, Schlachter said, were prioritized based on need and focus on school zones and other areas that need work.
Schlachter said the county has already collected about $1.2 million of discretionary funds. He expects about $20 million in discretionary funds to be collected in the next 10 years.
Unlike the projects on the approved TSPLOST list, which have to be completed before the end of the tax’s 10-year lifespan, there is no time limit to use the discretionary funds.