Category Archives: Hall

IRS Doubles Gainesville Office Staff After Collins’ Pressure

Today, Congressman Collins applauded the IRS for its announcement that it would add a second full-time employee to the Gainesville, GA Taxpayer Assistance Center. Congressman Collins previously raised concerns in two separate letters about the lack of IRS staff available to help taxpayers in Northeast Georgia, and demanded that the IRS do more to serve these hardworking Americans. In response to the IRS’s announcement, Congressman Collins said:

“While the IRS fell short of answering all of my questions, I am pleased that the IRS listened to my call to better serve taxpayers in Northeast Georgia by adding another full-time employee. It is unacceptable for one employee to serve more than 700,000 people. I witnessed first-hand the difficulties that customers were facing at the Gainesville Office, including hearing from customers who lined up as early as 4:00 am to receive assistance. I am encouraged that the IRS heeded these concerns and announced that they would add another full-time employee starting in October, in addition to instituting an appointment service. Taxpayers deserve timely and meaningful assistance.”

Georgia DOT Opens Small Business Help Center

Eligible small firms that want to pursue business opportunities with the Georgia Department of Transportation (Georgia DOT) now have a resource specifically designed to enable them to do just that.

Georgia DOT’s State Supported Funding Program (SSFP) has opened a Business Resource Help Center to assist eligible disadvantaged business enterprises (DBEs), and registered small and veteran-owned businesses in identifying and responding to business opportunities funded by the Transportation Funding Act (TFA) of 2015. These include a backlog of statewide routine maintenance projects like crack sealing; pothole repair; concrete slab repair; drainage work; roadway striping; guardrail repair; right-of-way clearing; vegetation maintenance; tree trimming; mowing; litter pick-up and more. These routine maintenance activities offer DBEs and small and medium-sized businesses—who may have not previously worked with Georgia DOT—the opportunity to establish themselves as a qualified contractor to bid on projects.

On Thursday, representatives from 20 small businesses joined Georgia DOT officials at a Business Center open house, where they discussed topics ranging from prequalification to bonding. The sentiment of the attendees was that the help center “represents the hope of real opportunity for doing business with Georgia DOT.” Firms are eager to apply for qualification on state funded routine maintenance projects and are looking forward to obtaining assistance from center staff with understanding the process.

“As the newly elected chairman of the State Transportation Board, the opening of this center reaffirms my commitment and GDOT’s commitment to ensuring that the Department provides access to opportunities for all contractors throughout the state of Georgia,” said Board Chairman Robert L. Brown. “We are fully committed to the success of the DBE program and the businesses that participate.”

The Business Help Center was established by Georgia DOT to provide these firms with training, consulting services, targeted matchmaking, one-on-one assistance, meeting space and computer access. The center, which is staffed with SSFP business specialists to assist eligible firms, is located in Decatur at One West Court Square, Suite 750. It is open Monday through Friday. Phone 678-420-5500. Visit www.gdotstateprojects.com.

Georgia Department of Transportation provides equal employment and business opportunities that support economic development and promote people and communities across the state. The DBE program promotes the participation of small businesses, disadvantaged business enterprises (including minority and women-owned businesses) and veteran-owned businesses. Visit www.dot.ga.gov/PS/Business/DBE.

For information about the Transportation Funding Act and details on becoming a qualified routine maintenance contractor, visit www.GAroads.org.

Collins Statement on Lula Bridge Victory

Washington, D.C. – After months of negotiations, an agreement has been reached between Norfolk Southern Railroad, the Georgia Department of Transportation, and the City of Lula, Georgia, on the maintenance and upkeep of the Cobb Street Bridge, which was closed last year due safety issues. Congressman Collins, who helped facilitate the meetings between the involved parties, issued the following statement on the resolution:

“As a result of these negotiations, this historic landmark will be preserved, and maintained to ensure the safety of the community and the efficiency of the railroad. I have very fond memories of driving over this bridge on my way to baseball games growing up.”

“This highly trafficked area is vital to Lula’s economy – trains pass under it multiple times a day, and it serves as a main route to cross a town divided by railroad tracks. Norfolk Southern has agreed to do all the repairs necessary to bring the bridge up to code, and then continue to oversee care and maintenance of the bridge going forward. Over the last few months, I have been in contact with the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Georgia Department of Transportation, which have been diligent in working together to help the City of Lula and Norfolk Southern get this matter resolved. I am proud that my office was able to play a role in this process, and help the parties find a workable solution. Thank you to Lula Mayor Milton Turner and City Manager Dennis Bergin for their leadership and commitment to resolving this issue on behalf of the people of Lula.”