County seeking state funds for new park-and-ride facility

By Monroe Roark
Times Correspondent

Henry County is looking for state assistance with the construction of a new park-and-ride facility, and county officials have committed a sizable amount of money in hopes of reaping much more.

The Board of Commissioners last week approved a resolution authorizing county staff to submit an application to the State Road and Tollway Authority for construction through the Go! Transit Capital Program of a park-and-ride facility in the vicinity of Exit 221 (Jonesboro Road) off I-75. The site would be managed by the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority (GRTA).

When presenting the proposal to the board, interim county DOT director Wade Stroud pointed out that if the county offers a considerable amount of matching funds, the application will receive a closer look by state officials.

“A stronger hard match of funds and the inclusion of local matching dollars will be given greater consideration since it clearly demonstrates the local commitment to and desire for the project,” according to the GOTCP application documents. “A hard match may be considered pledged money by the federal government, a developer, local government funds, a special purpose local-option sales tax, etc.”

With that in mind, Stroud recommended that the board provide a proposed match of $100,000 in the application. A budget transfer in that amount from the county DOT’s salary savings to grant match would accomplish this.

District I Commissioner Bo Moss asked Stroud if such a commitment would give the county a chance at receiving a much higher amount in return.

“Yes, a $100,000 investment on our end could net $5 million for construction of this park-and-ride lot,” Stroud replied.

“I’d say that’s a good swap,” Moss noted.

County manager Lyndon Bonner said that while the county is not required to commit matching funds, the $100,000 match makes it a much stronger application.

“This is an outstanding step in the right direction to deal with the transportation issues we have here,” he said.

Bonner said he is reaching out to municipalities as well as state representatives for letters of support.

The deadline for the application is Jan. 30, and Bonner noted that county staff worked diligently to get everything together in a timely manner to meet that deadline.

The resolution was approved unanimously.