X
GO
Transportation Planning Department
  • Home
  • Transportation Projects
  • Transit Planning
  • Trails Planning
  • Committees

 

Address: 140 Henry Parkway, McDonough, GA 30253
Tel: 770-288-7669  Fax: 770-288-7440
DirectorSam Baker, AICP
EmailEmail
 

Mission

The mission of the Department of Transportation Planning is to make transportation infrastructure investments in Henry County on the basis of a citizen-accepted and county-adopted long-range transportation plan.  Towards this end, we develop and periodically update a Comprehensive Transportation Plan.  This plan lists all the major transportation projects Henry County intends to undertake to meet the transportation needs now and in the future. In addition to a transportation plan, the Department plans to undertake various other transportation plans and planning studies.  They may include transit plan, trails plan, freight study, etc.

The Department of Transportation Planning was created in December 2019 in light of Henry County’s tremendous growth in population and the resulting increased traffic congestion. As such, we are a very new department.  Our mission is to collaborate with the County’s Transportation Department, Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) Department, and the Transit Department to meet Henry County citizens’ transportation needs now and in the future.

Transportation Plans

The following is a list of plan documents that include transportation in Henry County:

PLANNED TRANSPORTATION PROJECTS

Comprehensive Transportation Plan

Henry County, in coordination with the Cities of Stockbridge, McDonough, Locust Grove, and Hampton, developed a Comprehensive Transportation Plan (CTP) in 2016. This CTP assessed Henry County’s existing transportation infrastructure. It estimated Henry County’s population, households, employment, and student enrollment in schools and colleges in the base year (2010) and projected their growth to the plan year (2040). Based on such projected growth over the 30-year time period, the CTP then came up with a list of transportation projects for implementation between 2016 and 2040. The planned projects are divided into four lists based on anticipated availability of funding and time frame as below:

  1. Short-Range Projects (2016-2021)
  1. Mid-Range Projects (2022-2030)
  1. Long-Range Projects (2031-2040)
  1. Unconstrained Projects (Beyond 2040, Funding Not Identified)

The CTP is updated approximately every five years. Henry County is planning to undertake an update of the CTP in September 2020 and will have it updated in 2021.


Transportation Improvement Program

Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) is the tool used to implement the CTP. A TIP is a short-term planning document that lists transportation projects, picked from the long-range transportation plan for implementation over the upcoming six years, with the amount of funds and sources of such funds identified. It, therefore, is not a transportation project wish list but rather a financially-constrained project list.

The TIP is a federally-required document that is prepared by the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC), as the federally-designated regional transportation planning agency for the Atlanta urbanized area, in coordination with Henry County. Below is a link to the current TIP which lists Henry County projects for implementation from 2020 to 2025:

Fiscal Year 2020-2025 Transportation Improvement Program

The TIP above, however, does not list all the transportation projects that are planned to be constructed in Henry County during the above mentioned period. It is a federally-required planning document that lists only those projects that involve federal and state funds. Any project that is 100% locally funded, for example, a sidewalk construction project using Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST), may not be listed in the TIP. For additional planned locally-funded projects, please see our SPLOST Department.


Major Transportation Projects

I-75 Commercial Vehicle Lanes Project

The I-75 Commercial Vehicle Lanes (I-75 CVL) project is part of the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT)’s Major Mobility Investment Program (MMIP). The I-75 CVL project will add two truck-only lanes along I-75 in the northbound direction between the I-475 and I-75 interchange in Macon and Exit 216 at North McDonough Road/State Route 155 in McDonough.  The CVLs will be separated from the general purpose (GP) lanes by concrete barriers.

A close up of a map  Description automatically generatedThe I-75 corridor is part of the designated statewide freight network and is one of the most heavily utilized freight corridors, not only in the state, but in the country.  As the nation’s fourth busiest port, the Port of Savannah continues to expand with the majority of freight movements from the Port occurring along I-75 to the metro Atlanta region and points beyond. In addition to the Port of Savannah, I-75 also serves freight movements northbound from the state of Florida, which is Georgia’s top trading partner in terms of total freight tonnage. The significant freight volumes along I-75 today will only continue to increase.

The proposed truck-only lanes project is the first of its kind in the United States and will support the state’s economic competitiveness in the global marketplace through the efficient movement of freight. Separating trucks and passenger traffic by adding truck-only lanes will add capacity for commercial vehicles, improve operational efficiency through travel-time reliability and congestion reduction for both trucks and passenger vehicles, and improve safety for all along the I-75 corridor. Construction of this project is expected to begin in 2024 and end in 2028. Please see the links below for more details:

New Interchange on I-75 at Bethlehem Road

The Georgia Department of Transportation has earmarked $1 million in 2020 for the scoping of a new interchange on I-75 at Bethlehem Road and has proceeded with this project.  More details will be provided as they become available.

New Interchange on I-75 at Bethlehem Road

TRANSIT PLANNING

Henry County developed the Our Future In Motion – Henry County Transit Feasibility Study in 2016 as part of the County’s update of its Comprehensive Transportation plan. This study is Henry County’s current de facto transit plan. Below is a map of the recommendations made in the transit plan:



 

Since the development of the 2016 plan, two major events have happened:

  1. The Georgia state legislators have created a new regional transit agency called the Atlanta-Region Transit Link Authority (ATL). Any transit projects that need federal transit funds must be in the ATL’s regional transit plan for the Atlanta metropolitan area. In addition, the ATL has an annual call for projects seeking projects from the transit operators in the Atlanta area for funding. The Henry County Transit (HCT) needs to have a transit vision and a game plan in place to help determine what transit funding applications it should submit to the regional transit authority.
  1. Henry County has grown significantly in population. In addition, a new decennial Census is being conducted in 2020. This new Census is expected to show that Henry County has become more urbanized. This transition from a more rural or suburban county into an urbanized area has major financial consequences for HCT. HCT, as a rural area transit service provider per the 2010 Census, has been receiving federal transit operations funds from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). Once the 2020 Census data is released in around 2023, such federal transit operations funding for rural areas is expected to decline or diminish, and HCT, as an urbanized area transit service provider, will be expected to be more self-reliant or secure state/local funds for transit operations. At this time, there is not another source of funds identified for operations to replace the to-be lost funds earmarked for rural areas. Henry County, therefore, urgently needs to come up with a new transit plan defining what type of transit service (fixed-route, demand-response, micro-transit, etc.) is feasible here and how to fund such service.

In light of the two events mentioned above, Henry County has teamed up with the Atlanta-Region Transit Link Authority (ATL) to develop a new Henry County Transit Master Plan in fiscal year 2021 (July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021). The ATL has released a Request for Proposals (RFP) on June 15, 2020 seeking bids from qualified consultants. The deadline to submit proposals in response to this RFP is July 17, 2020. Below is a link to the RFP:

Henry County Transit Master Plan Request for Proposals (Download PDF)

TRAILS PLANNING

Background

Henry County developed a Comprehensive Transportation Plan (CTP) in 2016. This Plan suggested some concepts for trails on a map shown below:

The CTP then recommended that Henry County develop a countywide multi-use trails plan to look further into these concepts and more precisely define exactly what paths such trails will take. Henry County has yet to develop such a trails plan.

Henry County is now planning to undertake the development of a Henry County Trails Master Plan in fiscal year 2021 (July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021). The County adopted next fiscal year’s budget on June 16, 2020, and funding has been approved for a trails plan. However, in light of the coronavirus pandemic, Henry County’s revenue has taken a hit. Consequently, we are holding off on issuing a Request for Proposals for the trails plan until September while our county management monitors the county’s revenue situation. Please check back here for more updates in the future.


Panola Mountain Greenway Trail

The Panola Mountain Greenway Trail is under construction. A groundbreaking ceremony was held in January 2020:

Panola Mountain Greenway Trail Groundbreaking Ceremony

This 1.6-mile trail is being constructed from Panola Mountain State Park to Austin Road Middle School at a cost of approximately $2,725,000, with the assistance of the Georgia Department of Transportation and the PATH Foundation. The project is scheduled for completion by June 30, 2021. There is plan to extend this trail another 0.9 miles from Austin Road Middle School to Fairview Library, in a second phase, in the future. Here is a map of the first phase of the trail that is currently under construction:

Panola Mountain Greenway Trail

TRANSPORTATION RELATED COMMITTEES

Transportation Advisory Group

Henry County, in coordination with the Cities of Stockbridge, McDonough, Hampton, and Locust Grove, adopted a resolution on August 4, 2020 to create a citizen-appointed Transportation Advisory Group (TAG). The goal for creating the TAG is to engage the citizens of Henry County and its municipalities in the county’s transportation planning process, enable them to give input, make recommendations on transportation planning projects, and assist in the implementation of transportation plans. Henry County plans to undertake three major planning projects soon: update a transportation plan, develop a transit master plan, and prepare a trails master plan. The TAG is expected to play a key role in the development of these three plans.

Ten citizens will be appointed by the city and county elected officials to the TAG for a two-year term. Five of these ten citizens will represent the five commission districts of Henry County, one citizen will represent the Henry County Commission Chair, and the remaining four citizens will represent the four municipalities.

The next step now is for the elected officials to appoint representatives to this newly created group. The Henry County Department of Transportation Planning is excited about the TAG and looks forward to working side-by-side with this group of citizens on various upcoming transportation planning initiatives, transportation project funding, and implementation of transportation plans.


TSPLOST Committee

Henry County has formed a TSPLOST Committee of key county employees in June 2020 to explore the feasibility of a Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (TSPLOST) to implement some of the county’s much needed transportation projects that are recommended in Henry County’s Comprehensive Transportation Plan.

The primary funding source of road projects in the county has been federal transportation funds which come from taxes on gasoline and diesel. This gas tax has remained the same since 1993. Over the years, the cost of transportation projects has gone up. Inflation has eroded what can be implemented with the gas tax revenue nearly three decades later. On top, automobiles have become a lot more fuel-efficient over the years. The cars today burn significantly less gas than their predecessors which mean less gas tax revenue to build and maintain our roads and bridges. The State of Georgia passed the Transportation Funding Act in 2015 raising the state gasoline excise tax. It raises nearly $900 million annually statewide and has been of great help in advancing some much needed transportation projects statewide including in Henry County. Henry County has had a Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) for a number of years. Some of the SPLOST proceeds have been spent on transportation projects. But, in light of Henry County’s continued growth in population and resulting traffic congestion, the SPLOST proceeds have not been sufficient in implementing our long list of capacity-increasing road projects. This is where a TSPLOST is being considered what it can potentially help us accomplish in implementing some of our transportation projects. Unlike a SPLOST which devotes only a portion to transportation, a TSPLOST will invest all the proceeds on an approved list of transportation projects.

A TSPLOST is an additional sales tax imposed on the sales of goods and services. It can be up to 1%. A TSPLOST of 1% is expected to raise approximately $204 million over a five-year period for transportation projects. The TSPLOST Committee is presently developing a list of transportation projects to take it before the voters for a TSPLOST referendum in March 2021.

Below is a list of documents the TSPLOST Committee has prepared so far: