FAQs

1. How is an MPO formed?

The Federal Government requires that areas with populations greater than 50,000 establish a Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO). After the 2000 U.S. Census, the Gainesville Urban Area (2000 census population 88,680) was designated. The urban area jurisdictions of Flowery Branch, Gainesville, Oakwood and Hall County joined together to support the designation of the Hall County Planning Department as host of the new MPO, and that designation was approved by the Governor on February 25, 2003.

2. Who makes up the GHMPO?

The GHMPO is an intergovernmental agency coordinating transportation planning for jurisdictions in Hall County and a portion of Jackson County. The five jurisdictions have one chief elected official or their designated representative as voting members on the Policy Committee. The sixth voting member on the committee is from Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT).

3. How is the GHMPO structured?

In addition to the Policy Committee, the GHMPO has the Technical Coordinating Committee (TCC) and the Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC).

The Policy Committee is the decision making body for the organization. It is made up of the following officials or their designees:

Mayor, City of Gainesville
Mayor, City of Flowery Branch
Mayor, City of Oakwood
Chairperson, Hall County Commission
District 1 Commissioner, Hall County Commission
District 4 Commissioner, Hall County Commission
Chairperson, Jackson County Board of Commissioners
Commissioner, Georgia Department of Transportation

The Technical Coordinating Committee (TCC) provides recommendations from a technical perspective on the plans and programs adopted by the GHMPO. The voting membership is made up of administrators, engineers and planners from the member jurisdictions, Hall Area Transit and GDOT. The non-voting membership includes representatives of various State and Federal transportation agencies, local law enforcement, school boards and major local institutions.

The Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) provides recommendations from the public’s perspective, and consists of 19 appointees from the member jurisdictions as follows: Hall County (8), Gainesville (5), Flowery Branch (2), Oakwood (2), Braselton (1), and Jackson County (1).

The GHMPO staff, housed in the Hall County Planning Department, administers the planning program and provides technical guidance and administrative support to the committees.

4. How is the MPO funded?

MPOs are primarily funded with Metropolitan Planning funds from the Federal Highway Administration (PL funds) and the Federal Transit Administration (Section 5303 funds). These funds are matched at a ratio of 80% federal to 20% state/local.

5. Are MPO committee meetings open to the public?

Yes, all meetings of the GHMPO committees are open to the public. For meeting information visit our calendar section of our website.

6. What is the Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP)?

The LRTP, also called Regional Transportation Plan (RTP), is a collective effort to address the development of a community-wide transportation system. The Plan proposes a balanced transportation system, taking into account considerations such as personal mobility, growth management, regional economic development, neighborhood preservation, environmental concerns and citizen participation. The goals are consistent with the policies established by local agencies and jurisdictions.

7. What is the Transportation Improvement Program (TIP)?

The TIP is a four-year plan detailing the expenditure of state and Federal transportation funds within the GHMPO planning area. The projects come from the LRTP with higher priority projects being placed on the TIP project list. Projects must be approved by the GHMPO and programmed into the TIP in order to be implemented.

8. Is a road in my area going to be widened?

The TIP contains information on funded project improvements to be made over the next four years. The TIP has a complete project list and details of specific projects. See the 2018-2021 TIP.

9. What is the traffic count on a specific roadway/count station?

Traffic counts record the number of vehicles using the roadway. Most traffic counts are made by the Georgia Department of Transportation and are used to evaluate the level of service of a roadway, or to plan for improvements or resurfacing. GDOT conducts annual traffic counts and the information can be found on an interactive map. Merely zoom in on the desired road and click for information on the nearest traffic monitor location on that road to see the Average Annual Daily Traffic (AADT). See GDOT’s Traffic Counts

10. If I don’t or can’t drive, what options are available to me?

If walking or biking are not options for you and you cannot arrange for carpooling, transit choices are available. Hall Area Transit (HAT) operates both fixed routes and Dial-A-Ride services on weekdays. In addition, Mobility Plus service for riders with mobility impairments. For more details on routes and current fares visit Hall Area Transit.

11. How can I get involved?

The GHMPO website is great place to start for public involvement. We also hold regularly scheduled committee meetings and periodic open house meetings on specific projects; as well as, seeking public review and comment for our TIP and LRTP during revisions. Our meetings are open to the public and upcoming committee agendas are posted on our website but if you cannot join us, you are welcome to phone us at 770-531-6809, contact us at www.ghmpo.org or send a letter to:

Gainesville-Hall Metropolitan Planning Organization
P.O. Drawer 1435
Gainesville, GA 30503

12. Why does it take so long to build a project after it is identified in the transportation plan?

After a plan alignment is shown on the thoroughfare plan, it may take many years for the project to be needed and funded. Here are some of the steps involved in the highway construction process:

  • Congestion and need are evaluated by GDOT.
  • Traffic studies and other planning is conducted.
  • Alternate route studies are collected.
  • Preliminary relocation studies are collected and evaluated.
  • An environmental impact study is prepared.
  • Preliminary engineering is accomplished and public hearings are held.
  • Location of the corridor is approved.
  • Design and detailed plans are prepared.
  • Right of Way personnel contacts property owners.
  • Real estate market studies, evaluations, appraisals and detailed relocation studies are conducted.
  • Comprehensive appraisal and evaluation review by Right of Way representatives is conducted.
  • Negotiations begin. Needed property is acquired by agreed settlement with the owner. Relocation assistance is provided when applicable.
  • Payment is made to the property owner and the title is transferred.
  • Condemnation of property is instituted, if necessary.
  • Appeals are made, if necessary, with regard to real property tax reimbursement.
  • Appeals are made, if necessary, with regard to relocation benefits.
  • The highway project is advertised to contractors to submit their bids.
  • The bids are reviewed by department members and contracts are awarded by GDOT.
  • The highway is built.
  • The highway is opened for public use.

Typically, it takes 7-12 years to build a project after it is funded. This time could be shorter or longer depending on the complexity of the study.

13. How often are the LRTP and TIP updated?

An LRTP update takes place every four years. Changes to the TIP can occur, as often necessary, prior to the LRTP update through an amendment process approved by the committees.

14. Can I be included in an e-mail notification list?

Yes, just send an e-mail message to Joseph Boyd, Transportation Planning Director, at jboyd@hallcounty.org. You will receive notices regarding upcoming meetings, public notices, and special events being held by the Gainesville-Hall MPO.

17. Are all transportation projects listed in the TIP or LRTP?

All projects funded in part by state and Federal sources are listed. Projects using only local funds are not listed.