Following the recent Veterans Benefits Fair that Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) held in Dahlonega last month, the Ninth District Representative met with the Lumpkin County Chamber of Commerce recently to hear from business leaders about the local economy and related issues. Dahlonega’s Mayor Sam Norton and County Commission Chairman Chris Dockery were among those in attendance.
Collins asked Chamber members for their perspectives on a variety of policy issues and took questions focused on the implications that national policy discussions have for Lumpkin County.
“I’m thankful that the Lumpkin County Chamber of Commerce continues to share their time and insight with me. The leadership in this community remains committed to promoting smart growth opportunities, and hearing from them allows me to work effectively with the White House and my colleagues in Congress to break down barriers to economic success,” said Collins following the event.
The group emphasized the challenge presented by unreliable broadband access in the area, which Collins has been tackling in his work with the Federal Communications Commission and as a legislator. Collins introduced the Gigabit Opportunity Act this Congress to incentivize private investment in rural broadband infrastructure and has praised President Trump for his executive order focused on improving rural broadband, which he issued this January.
The discussion focused on Dahlonega’s economy, as Collins asked for an update on growth, whether anything was holding the community back and what impact tax reform seems to be having locally. The consensus seemed to be that the economy is strengthening as demand is growing across industries, though more regulatory relief from Washington would be welcome. Government agencies like the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau have negatively affected industries and consumers, and Republicans in the House continue voting to roll back harmful regulations.
Many business owners would also like to see northeast Georgia’s workforce grow. Collins echoed calls for a greater emphasis on vocational training in schools in order to prepare the next generation of workers for fields that demand specific technical skills. He also noted that workforce development has become more of a focus in Washington recently
The Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) awarded approximately $8.6 million for road projects in Senate District 51 as part of a $54 million statewide construction and maintenance upgrade. Projects for Senate District 51 were announced as part of the 2016 November and December awards.
“Maintenance and upgrades for existing roads continue to be a critical issue for our local communities,” said Senator Steve Gooch(R – Dahlonega). “I commend GDOT for acknowledging the needs within our community and awarding projects to Senate District 51. These projects will increase safety, decrease congestion and ensure that existing infrastructure needs are met.”
Dawson County was awarded a project totaling around $3.8 million. This funding will go toward construction of a roundabout on State Route 53 at State Route 183. The anticipated completion date for this project is May 31, 2018.
A project totaling around $4.5 million was awarded to address approximately 53 miles of plant mix resurfacing and surface treatment paving at five locations across Fannin and Pickens Counties. These upgrades will be completed by November 30, 2017. Along with this award, Pickens County was awarded an additional project totaling $292,243. This project will increase safety throughout the county by funding signing and pavement marking upgrades at railroad crossing location throughout the county. The anticipated completion date for these projects is May 31, 2018.
Information on schedules, lane closures and detours will be made available on the Georgia DOT Website in advance of construction activities.
Details on all projects awarded can be found through the Award Announcement Downloads link at https://www.bidx.com/ga/letting?lettingid=16052001. Click on Award Announcement on the right.
Work could begin soon on resurfacing State Route (SR) 60 in Hall and Lumpkin counties. Georgia DOT has recently awarded a contract to C.W. Matthews Co. Inc. of Marietta, Georgia, valued at over three million dollars for a construction project to resurface a 10-mile portion of the highway. The project includes 10.278 miles of milling, plant mix resurfacing, and shoulder rehabilitation on SR 60, beginning north of Lodge Drive in Hall County and extending to SR 9 in Lumpkin County. This section of SR 60 needs resurfacing because the existing pavement has been deteriorating.
This construction project is scheduled to be completed by the end of February 2017, at a construction cost of $3,016,382. Information on construction and lane closure schedules on this project will be forthcoming before work begins.
More details on this and other projects in the Department’s most recent bid awards are available via Award Announcement Download at: www.bidx.com/ga/letting?lettingid=16031801
In their 2015 legislative session, Georgia lawmakers addressed the state’s critical transportation infrastructure needs with passage of House Bill 170, Georgia’s transportation funding bill. Transportation Funding Act (TFA) of 2015 is expected to generate an estimated $870 million in the first fiscal year. This sustained annual revenue will be used to fund much-needed routine maintenance and capital improvements.