4 commissioners disavow East F’ville Bypass
Last week, several Fayette County commissioners made it clear they are not moving forward with the proposed East Fayetteville Bypass.
Those voices against the project were missing the week before, when county staff made a presentation on the project during the county’s retreat April 5. The presentation noted that the project would exhaust the remaining $28 million in funds left from the county’s transportation sales tax and require another $5.8 million to complete.
The only commission comment made about the bypass at the retreat was in favor of part of the project: Commission Chairman Steve Brown said he favored buying the necessary right of way to take advantage of the low land prices.
That changed Thursday night, after commissioners received a wave of criticism following an article on the project published last week by The Citizen.
Commissioners David Barlow and Allen McCarty each said Thursday they were against the bypass project, which is proposed to start along Ga. Highway 85 north of the Fayette Pavilion and largely follow the length of the existing Corinth Road to reach Ga. Highway 54 West. From there, the road would take a new path to reach the existing County Line Road and the bypass would end at the intersection of County Line, Inman and South Jeff Davis roads.
Commissioner Charles Oddo noted that the bypass proposal is one the county needs to study before making a decision. Commissioner Randy Ognio declined to address the bypass, indicating that his fellow commissioners had said enough to clear up the matter.
Barlow contended that The Citizen’s article created the impression that the commissioners had agreed to proceed with the East bypass “and that couldn’t be further from the truth.”
“My recollection from the workshop Friday was that was just one of many discussions that we had in trying to move forward with what we’re doing as commissioners,” Barlow said.
Commissioner Charles Oddo noted the retreat “was in no way intended to be a meeting in which decisions were made” but was instead a way for the commissioners to learn about the county’s status heading into upcoming budget decisions.
“The East Fayetteville Bypass, SPLOST, all these things are wrapped up in a big ball that we have to unwind,” Oddo said. “... We’re learning what the situation is and then we’re going to start planning and taking action.”
McCarty said he always has been and always will be opposed to spending on both the East Bypass and the West Bypass.
“No bypass is on my agenda, period,” McCarty said. “East, west, north, south, backwards or forwards. Never has been, never will be, unless the citizens of this county step up and tell me that’s what they want. And I represent the citizens of this county.”
McCarty noted that he was elected by citizens because of his stand against the bypass and added that it hasn’t changed.