LAWRENCEVILLE -- Gwinnett's transportation future is dependent on a sales tax vote this summer, officials say.
For years, officials have struggled to keep up with the county's growth, taking advantage of local sales taxes to build hundreds of lane miles of road.
But with a future that calls for 1 million people -- 200,000 more than the current population -- in less than two decades, funding is the key to keeping up.
In the Daily Post's 2005 Progress edition on "Gwinnett at 1 Million," then-Transportation Director Brian Allen said the county had little hope of curtailing traffic, just keeping up.
But without some major projects -- a cross-county connector from Sugar Hill to Dacula, upgrades to Ga. Highway 316, and commuter rail programs -- the congestion could get even worse, he said.
Those three projects were earmarked last year for funding in a regional transportation sales tax, which metro Atlantans will consider in an upcoming referendum, currently scheduled for July.
"Providing inter-county and intra-county mobility for over a million people in the future will involve looking at several areas of transportation, including increasing capacity with new or wider roads, pedestrian mobility projects, congestion relief, traffic management and various exploring transit options," said Kim Conroy, who was named interim transportation director when Allen retired last year.
Several years ago, state transportation officials had identified billions in projects they had no way to fund. That's why many are pushing for the one-percent tax, which would provide more than $900 million for Gwinnett, out of the $7 billion expected to be collected in 10 years.
According to a recently released analysis of the transportation list, the projects would create a 24 percent decrease in future travel delays by the year 2025 -- which is about the time Gwinnett is expected to hit 1 million in population.
Regionwide, the number of daily transit trips will rise from 417,000 today to 580,000 in 2025, and air quality would improve by taking 72,000 vehicles off the road daily.
The future of the Gwinnett County Airport could also come to a head this year, after three years of debating a proposal to add commercial flights to the small general aviation airfield.
Earlier in February, Propeller Airports, which has touted passenger service as an economic boon, was the sole proposer to submit information for the county's privatization process.
A decision could come at any time in the next several months.
This story is part of the 2012 annual Progress edition, "Moving Gwinnett Toward One Million." To see the complete online edition, click HERE.