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Residents get peek at transit options for 85 corridor

NORCROSS -- Gwinnett County has got to do something to fix its transportation problems, Norcross resident Chuck Paul said Monday, or, in his words, "we're going to choke on our own vomit."

"There's got to be an easier way to get people from A to B," he said.

Paul's words came during a public information meeting held as part of the Interstate 85 Corridor Alternatives Analysis Study, an 18-month look into how people will get around (and into Atlanta) in the future in the crowded central corridor of Gwinnett.

The casual meeting at the Gwinnett Village CID office Monday night drew many residents and officials, and offered a glimpse at traffic and development projections, as well as a variety of potential transit options -- including light rail, busses and commuter rail.

Scoffing at the number of studies being done on the possibilities -- including the research for the upcoming vote on the regional Transportation Investment Act -- Norcross resident Dominic Perello said the county needs to get the ball rolling.

"When I came to town 25 years ago, the streets were paved, the curbs were in, the electricity and the water and the telephone all came to my house," Perello said. "Somebody else paid for that (through taxes). This is what we need to do for the next generation. Bite the bullet and quit crying about no new taxes."

"It's a lot of money," he added, "but it's not going to be cheaper in the future."

Lilburn City Councilman Thomas Wight was also at the meeting.

"I really, really hope that somebody's smart enough to run light rail and commuter trains right up 85," he said. "I don't see any other solution ... When you take the time and do it right, it works."

Residents will have another chance to view the information and offer input during a public information meeting on Thursday. That meeting will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Gwinnett Place Marriott, 1775 Pleasant Hill Road in Duluth.