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Transportation Planning Department
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Address: 140 Henry Parkway, McDonough, GA 30253
Tel: 770-288-7669  Fax: 770-288-7440
DirectorSam Baker, AICP
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Mission

The mission of the Department of Transportation Planning is to make transportation infrastructure investments in Henry County on the basis of a citizen-accepted and county-adopted long-range transportation plan.  Towards this end, we develop and periodically update a Comprehensive Transportation Plan.  This plan lists all the major transportation projects Henry County intends to undertake to meet the transportation needs now and in the future. In addition to a transportation plan, the Department plans to undertake various other transportation plans and planning studies.  They may include transit plan, trails plan, freight study, etc.

The Department of Transportation Planning was created in December 2019 in light of Henry County’s tremendous growth in population and the resulting increased traffic congestion. As such, we are a very new department.  Our mission is to collaborate with the County’s Transportation Department, Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) Department, and the Transit Department to meet Henry County citizens’ transportation needs now and in the future.

Transportation Plans

The following is a list of plan documents that include transportation in Henry County:

PLANNED TRANSPORTATION PROJECTS

Comprehensive Transportation Plan

Henry County, in coordination with the Cities of Stockbridge, McDonough, Locust Grove, and Hampton, developed a Comprehensive Transportation Plan (CTP) in 2016. This CTP assessed Henry County’s existing transportation infrastructure. It estimated Henry County’s population, households, employment, and student enrollment in schools and colleges in the base year (2010) and projected their growth to the plan year (2040). Based on such projected growth over the 30-year time period, the CTP then came up with a list of transportation projects for implementation between 2016 and 2040. The planned projects are divided into four lists based on anticipated availability of funding and time frame as below:

  1. Short-Range Projects (2016-2021)
  1. Mid-Range Projects (2022-2030)
  1. Long-Range Projects (2031-2040)
  1. Unconstrained Projects (Beyond 2040, Funding Not Identified)

The CTP is updated approximately every five years. Henry County is planning to undertake an update of the CTP and will have it updated in 2021.

Transportation Improvement Program

Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) is the tool used to implement the CTP. A TIP is a short-term planning document that lists transportation projects, picked from the long-range transportation plan for implementation over the upcoming six years, with the amount of funds and sources of such funds identified. It, therefore, is not a transportation project wish list but rather a financially-constrained project list.

The TIP is a federally-required document that is prepared by the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC), as the federally-designated regional transportation planning agency for the Atlanta urbanized area, in coordination with Henry County. Below is a link to the current TIP which lists Henry County projects for implementation from 2020 to 2025:

Fiscal Year 2020-2025 Transportation Improvement Program

The TIP above, however, does not list all the transportation projects that are planned to be constructed in Henry County during the above mentioned period. It is a federally-required planning document that lists only those projects that involve federal and state funds. Any project that is 100% locally funded, for example, a sidewalk construction project using Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST), may not be listed in the TIP. For additional planned locally-funded projects, please see our SPLOST Department.

TRANSIT PLANNING

Henry County developed the Our Future In Motion – Henry County Transit Feasibility Study in 2016 as part of the County’s update of its Comprehensive Transportation plan. This study is Henry County’s current de facto transit plan. Below is a map of the recommendations made in the transit plan:



 

Since the development of the 2016 plan, two major events have happened:

  1. The Georgia state legislators have created a new regional transit agency called the Atlanta-Region Transit Link Authority (ATL). Any transit projects that need federal transit funds must be in the ATL’s regional transit plan for the Atlanta metropolitan area. In addition, the ATL has an annual call for projects seeking projects from the transit operators in the Atlanta area for funding. The Henry County Transit (HCT) needs to have a transit vision and a game plan in place to help determine what transit funding applications it should and will submit to the regional transit authority.
  1. Henry County has grown significantly in population. In addition, a new decennial Census is being conducted in 2020. This new Census is expected to show that Henry County has become more urbanized. This transition from a more rural or suburban county into an urbanized area has major financial consequences for HCT. HCT, as a rural area transit service provider per the 2010 Census, has been receiving federal transit operations funds from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). Once the 2020 Census data is released in around 2022, such federal transit operations funding dedicated for rural areas is expected to decline or diminish, and HCT, as an urbanized area transit service provider, will be expected to be more self-reliant or secure state/local funds for transit operations. At this time, there is not another source of funds identified for operations to replace the to-be lost federal funds earmarked for rural areas. Henry County, therefore, urgently needs to come up with a new transit plan defining what type of transit service (fixed-route, demand-response, micro-transit, etc.) is feasible here and how to fund such service.

In light of the two events mentioned above, Henry County is currently planning to undertake an update of its transit plan in fiscal year 2021 (July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021). We are presently in the process of securing funds for such a plan update with the FTA and the ATL. Once funds have been secured, we will develop and release a Request for Proposals (RFP) seeking a consultant or a team of consultants to develop Henry County’s next transit plan. Please check back here for more updates in the future.

Presently, GRTA Express and Henry County Transit provide public transportation service in Henry County.

GRTA Xpress Bus Henry County Transit Bus

TRAILS PLANNING

Background

Henry County developed a Comprehensive Transportation Plan (CTP) in 2016. This Plan suggested some concepts for trails on a map shown below:

The CTP then recommended that Henry County develop a countywide multi-use trails plan to look further into these concepts and more precisely define exactly what paths such trails will take.  Henry County has yet to develop such a trails plan.

Henry County is now planning to undertake the development of a Henry County Trails Plan in fiscal year 2021 (July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021). The County is scheduled to adopt next fiscal year’s budget in May 2020. Once the new budget is adopted and funds have been secured for a trails plan, we will release a Request for Proposals (RFP) seeking a consultant or a team of consultants to undertake this project for us. Please check back here for more updates in the future.

Panola Mountain Greenway Trail

The Panola Mountain Greenway Trail is under construction. A groundbreaking ceremony was held in January 2020:

Panola Mountain Greenway Trail Groundbreaking Ceremony

This 1.6-mile trail is being constructed from Panola Mountain State Park to Austin Road Middle School at a cost of approximately $2,725,000, with the assistance of the Georgia Department of Transportation and the PATH Foundation. The project is scheduled for completion by June 30, 2021. There is plan to extend this trail another 0.9 miles from Austin Road Middle School to Fairview Library, in a second phase, in the future. Here is a map of the first phase of the trail that is currently under construction:

Panola Mountain Greenway Trail