Residents can review Cartersville-Bartow Metropolitan Planning Organization document until Sept. 15

PLANNING AHEAD Public comment open for FY 19 Unified Planning Work Program

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A draft document detailing the Cartersville-Bartow Metropolitan Planning Organization's (CBMPO) proposed fiscal year 2019 transportation planning activities is now available for public comment.

"The biggest item on that docket would be getting into the process of updating the Long-Range Transportation Plan (LRTP) that was adopted several years ago," said Bartow Transportation Planner Tom Sills. "So we're anticipating having the county's LRTP updated by February of 2020."

Sills said the current Unified Planning Work Program (UPWP) budget — not including the projected costs of transit planning, which is expected to include a considerable amount of federal funding — is about $168,487. Of that, the CBMPO expects about $33,000 to come from local funding. They anticipate the remainder being paid by Georgia Department of Transportation dollars.

About $60,000 of the UPWP budget is directed towards a number of potential transportation studies. The CBMPO projects $12,000 of that funding coming from local sources, with GDOT picking up the bill for the remaining $48,000.

Among the "anticipated products" included in the draft document are a feasibility study exploring the construction of sidewalks in Adairsville along State Route 140 and State Route 41; a Burnt Hickory corridor study examining the costs of potentially widening the road and relocating the intersection at Sugar Valley Road; and a corridor study looking at possible solutions to the "capacity bottleneck" along North Tennessee Street.

Another potential study, Sills said, would look at the possibility of adding a new railroad overpass somewhere in downtown Cartersville.

"Trains have been coming to a complete stop blocking all downtown at-grade crossings for extended periods of time creating considerable traffic congestion," the draft document reads. "The City of Cartersville staff have suggested the need for a study to determine [the] feasibility and best location for a bridge/overpass that would relieve this congestion."

The updated UPWP, Sills said, also addresses how the county will implement some new system monitoring measures required by the federal Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act.

"Included in the adoption of that legislation were several requirements for performance measures to be adopted," Sills said. "On the road side of the equation we have had to adopt standards for pavement, for bridges, for safety and for, basically, the performance of the system as a whole, in terms of delay and that type of thing. There are a couple more standards yet to be adopted, but when all is said and done, at the end of the day when we adopt our 2020 LRTP we will have to be able to show that our projects are helping us accomplish those performance goals." 

The UPWP draft also targets $82,944 in funding for local transit planning — specifically, updates to the "financing and operational structure commensurate with the responsibilities and requirements of the federal funding sources and local needs for transit services."

The CBMPO expects most of its 2019 fiscal year Transit Asset Management Plan development costs to be covered through Federal Transit Administration urban transit funds. With the FTA anticipated to take care of $69,120, the rest of the funds will be procured from both a state and a local match, each of which are currently tabbed at $6,912. 

"In the case of transit, they wanted to have some itemization of the assets involved and their condition," Sills said. "So the transit department is having to identify each piece of equipment that they use, including the busses, the computers ... and with that, determine their need for updating equipment, and henceforth as we make budget requests for updating equipment, it will have to tie into the asset management plan."

Those interested in reviewing the draft document can read it online at www.bartowga.org/UPWP%20FY%2019%20DRAFT%20rev2.pdf. Copies of the UPWP draft can also be obtained by contacting Sills at sillst@bartowga.org or calling the local MPO office at (770) 607-6265.

While Sills said he doesn't expect public input to have a particularly pronounced impact on the final UPWP proposal, he nonetheless recognizes an outside chance that residents' comments could lead to some changes in the program's planned budget.

"I'm not anticipating any at this point," he said. "But you never know."

Sept. 15 is the deadline for public comments. The draft will be up for adoption at a MPO Policy Committee meeting, scheduled for 2 p.m. on Nov. 7 at the Zoning Hearing Room of the Frank Moore Administration and Judicial Center located at 135 West Cherokee Avenue in Cartersville.