The recently formed Butts County Transportation Board held its first organizational meeting on Thursday, January 24, 2014. The meeting was opened by Board of Commissioners Chairman Roger McDaniel, who welcomed everyone to the meeting and made introductions of those in attendance. Chairman McDaniel explained that the purpose of the initial meeting was to introduce the board members to each other and to explain to the members the purpose of the board and what role it would fill in future transportation discussions.

Board members in attendance included Andrew Johnson and John Carter, representing Butts County; Bob Ryan representing Flovilla; Walter Mayfield representing Jackson and William Mullis representing Jenkinsburg. Ex-officio members present included Douglas Manning representing the Community Development Department; Robert Hiett representing Three Rivers Regional Commission and Thomas Howell representing the Georgia Department of Transportation. Howell also brought several key staff members from Georgia DOT to participate in the discussions.

Following introductions and the overview of the board, Chairman McDaniel called for the election of officers. The board members present elected John Carter, Chairman; Bob Ryan as Vice Chairman and Walter Mayfield as Secretary. Chairman Carter then called for representatives of the local governments to give an overview of transportation issues that were of concern to each jurisdiction.

County Administrator Michael Brewer gave an overview of transportation issues that the county government has been discussing for the past few years. This included the future transformation of Georgia Highway 16 west into a four lane highway that would continue the four lane from Griffin all the way to Jackson. Other issues of concern included needed intersection improvements at Shiloh Road on both ends (16 and 42); intersection safety needs at England Chapel and Georgia Highway 42 north; a traffic light at Riverview Business Park and improvements to Truck Stop Way that would allow access to the county industrial park at Riverview. He mentioned that the County Commissioners had decided to defer issues concerning the Jackson-DOT one-way pair project to the City of Jackson since the project was in their jurisdiction.

Mayor Kay Pippin of Jackson noted that the city’s greatest concern was the growing amount of truck traffic that snarls downtown Jackson every day. She specifically mentioned that citizens she had talked to during her recent campaign had expressed concerns about the proposed one-way pair that would go through Jackson and that tractor trailer trucks using Covington Street presented a safety risk as well. She also noted that a future project that might be beneficial would be to four-lane highway 42 all the way to Henry County for commuter traffic that goes in out of Butts County each day.

Mayor David Nestor of Jenkinsburg discussed his city’s role as the gateway into Butts County and that recent traffic studies showed that approximately 11,000 vehicles per day travel through Jenkinsburg, much of it commuter traffic. He noted that Jenkinsburg has over 30 active businesses along the Highway 42 corridor and that he hoped potential road projects would not prove adverse to his city businesses. He also mentioned that one project he would like to see is the placement of a State “Ride Share” parking lot in Jenkinsburg for commuters who carpool to Henry County and Atlanta. Flovilla Mayor Scott Chewning was unable to be present and will provide Flovilla’s concerns separately.

After hearing presentations from the local government representatives, the board discussed prioritizing the various issues for study over the next few months. They set their schedule for future meetings to be held on the fourth Thursdays of each month at 6:00 PM. Future meetings will continue to be held at the Administration Building.