The Georgia Department of Transportation has dedicated more than $66 million to improving Floyd County’s roads since a change in the state gas tax created a bigger pool of money.
“The state and the Legislature deserve a lot of thanks for coming up with that bill,” County Manager Jamie McCord said. “We even got a $300,000 increase annually on our (Local Maintenance & Improvement Grant) for paving. It went from $750,000 to over $1 million.”
The Georgia Transportation Funding Act of 2015 converted the 4-percent sales tax on gas to an excise tax of 26 cents per gallon. It also added a $200 fee for electric vehicles and a $5 per night surcharge at hotels and motels — all dedicated to roads and bridges. GDOT District Engineer DeWayne Comer said $66.7 million has gone to Floyd so far.
McCord said some of the work is the kind that’s not necessarily noticed unless it’s not done.
“We get five litter pickups now instead of two, and three cuts (of grass on medians and rights of way) instead of two,” he explained. “They’ve done (asphalt) crack-sealing, striping and crosswalks at six intersections.”
The $85,124 realignment of Black’s Bluff Road to meet the bypass was funded with TFA money, as was the paving of Ga. 101. C.W. Matthews Contracting Co. got $2.1 million to mill and resurface a 10.5-mile stretch of the road between Holiday Drive and Seney Pond Road.
And work is continuing on a $6 million project that includes bridges on U.S. 411 and the bypass.
“They’re virtually re-topping everything and bringing the barriers up to speed,” McCord said.
A $56.5 million contract also was awarded in September to widen 6.7 miles of Ga. 140 from Ga. 53 east into Bartow County. The project is slated for completion in June 2021.
Rome-Floyd County Planning Director Sue Hiller said the TFA came at an opportune time.
“There’s so much talk about reducing federal transportation funding right now,” she said. “It’s helpful in Georgia to have some other source of funding for those projects.”
McCord said GDOT also has earmarked money to replace the last bridge on Booger Hollow Road before the Polk County line, although construction isn’t likely to start until next summer.