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Here's how Forsyth County is paying for $428 million in road projects
Road WEB
Work to improve a confusing Atlanta Highway intersection in Cumming is about 35 percent complete, according to the DOT. - photo by Jim Dean

There’s a lot of money from a lot of sources that goes into funding transportation projects in Forsyth County, so much so that it can even be tough for county leaders to keep them straight, but a presentation this week helped put that information in perspective. 

At a Forsyth County Board of Commissioners work session on Tuesday, Sept. 8, Dave Gruen, the county’s chief financial officer, presented a list of some of the county’s major road projects that are being funded through the county’s 2016 transportation bond, two SPLOST issues and other sources, including state funding. 

In total, the projects — which were broken down into completed/contracted and estimated categories — are expected to cost about $428 million. Between the various funding sources, the county has about $6.2 million in available funding for projects over the budgeted amounts. 

Completed/contracted projects included the Ga. 400 widening project ($34 million), the Ronald Reagan Boulevard extension ($63.4 million) and the Hwy. 369 widening and interchange ($75.7 million). 

Estimated projects included the McGinnis Ferry Road widening ($69.9 million), Phases IV and V of Old Atlanta Road ($38.9 million) and the McGinnis Ferry Road interchange on Ga. 400 ($3 million). 

Gruen said numbers for the estimated projects are more likely to change than the completed/contracted list. 

“The ones who are most at risk right now are the McGinnis Ferry Road widening and the Old Atlanta Road Phases IV and V contracts. I think Old Atlanta will come first,” Gruen said. “I think they’re going to get ready to go out later this fall with that bid. We don’t know what those bids are going to come in at.” 

Major sources of funding for the transportation projects include: 

  • $200 million from the transportation bond,  
  • $94.5 million from SPLOST VII,
  • $53 million from SPLOST VIII,
  • $35.2 million from GDOT and grants, 
  • $28.2 million from impact fees, 
  • And $92 million from other funding sources.

For the transportation bond, $100 million has gone toward the bond debt to relieve the burden on taxpayers.  

The McGinnis Ferry widening is unique among the projects since it is part of an agreement with the cities of Johns Creek and Alpharetta, who are paying $18.8 million combined, and still has $14 million remaining left to be funded. 

Gruen said if the county was on the hook for half of the $14 million, it would essentially wipe out the $6.2 million for other projects.  

“Not that the board couldn’t make a commitment, but it just means that we still have to award the contract for Old Atlanta (Phases) IV and V, and then come down to the contract for McGinnis Ferry Road,” Gruen said. “We don’t want to get to the point where those contracts are ready to be awarded and we’re running up against short funding at that point.” 

No action was taken during the meeting, but commissioners said there could be a benefit to having regular updates about the funding for all road projects. 

“I think sometimes we assume that there still is going to be something left when we are considering new projects that are projects we want to do, but we need to have the reality check every now and then to make sure those costs haven’t gone tremendously over,” said BOC Chairwoman Laura Semanson. “We’ve had some big surprises in the past on some projects, and so we need to make sure that that communication line is kept as well with our engineering and with our consultants to make sure that even that is not coming up against additional, unforeseen risks.”