According to Gordon Burkette, legislative coordinator for DeKalb, the county is fairly built out so when inquiring from the public and key stakeholders they concluded the need for capacity projects as for what to put on the project list.
“With that information DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis and Decatur Mayor Bill Floyd decided that our process would be to emphasize transit and that’s how we came up with the two major transit projects that we have,” said Burkette.
The two major projects include:
- I-20 East bus rapid transit, which is the first portion of the MARTA recommended local alternative for the I-20 corridor. The initial phase is bus rapid transit from downtown Atlanta to the Stonecrest Mall area, also there will be direct service from the same area to Cumberland Mall and also to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.
- Clifton corridor is a critical piece of infrastructure in the Emory corridor. Alternative transportation is needed there to alleviate traffic congestion.
“We have some other major projects,” Burkette said. “One of the critical ones is the General Motors site that a lot of people in the county are very interested in seeing be redeveloped. And if you’ve ever seen that site relative to where it is its great it’s very close to a lot of transportation — but there’s not direct contact to any of that.”
The goal with the GM site, according to Burkette, would be a connector road recommended in the Livable Centers Initiative and brought to the process by the city of Doraville as a part of the list to push forward with.
On the amount of projects slated for DeKalb, if the referendum passes, Burkette said there are 16 road projects that are primarily inside DeKalb County. DeKalb is one of two counties (Fulton being the other) that has a significant amount of jobs where citizens actually go to and from work within one county.
With that being said, Burkette mentioned that many of the proposed transportation projects in DeKalb do benefit other bordering counties. For instance, a project at I-85 and 285 will improve ramp movements on I-85 and will involve re-routing the northbound exits at Northcrest Road and Pleasantdale Road. That project will mostly benefit Gwinnett County drivers.
A few other projects included on the long list of possibilities include:
Ashford Dunwoody Road from SR 141 (Peachtree Road) to I-285 North — this would be a corridor improvement that may include intersection improvements, sidewalk gap elimination, upgrading traffic signals and more.
U.S. 278 (College Avenue) from Adair Street to North Clarendon Avenue — this would also be a corridor improvement
North Druid Hills Road from SR 13 (Buford Highway) to U.S. 29 (Lawrenceville Highway) — also a corridor improvement
Perimeter Center Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) Program — this project will deploy advanced technology to improve the communication and operation of more than 70 traffic signals throughout the Perimeter Community Improvement Districts
Mt. Vernon Road from Fulton County line to Dunwoody Club Drive — this would be a corridor improvement.
Also part of the project list for DeKalb is a few MARTA State of Good Repair projects.
“There are nine of those and these are system wide,” said Burkette. “They’re going to do major train control system upgrades so that controls the speed of the trains.”
Burkette added about 40 percent of the MARTA rail is located in DeKalb.
The total amount of funds that would come to DeKalb County solely from the 1-cent sales tax, if passed, is about $1.4 billion. Other funds would come from the federal government for some projects as well as local matching funds, which would bring the total funding commitment for DeKalb (inclusive of all projects) to about $1.6 billion. These amounts are based on 2011 figures.