The project, approved in 2009, is on the draft list of projects proposed for funding through a 1-cent transportation sales tax.
State Transportation Planner Todd Long said Tuesday the state would fund 50 percent of its $146 million construction cost if the T-SPLOST would provide the other $73 million.
Click here to see a copy of the letter.
Mullis, a Republican from Chickamauga, chairs the state Senate’s transportation committee. He ticked off a list of con-cerns that mirror objections raised by the wealthy Rollins family, who own property in the path of the new road.
“I will be happy to help you any way to select a new, better, less costly and less-environmentally damaging site to connect Rome to I-75,” Mullis write in a June 28 letter that apparently went to Bowen, Georgia Department of Transportation Com-missioner Vance Smith and U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.
Bartow County Sole Commissioner Clarence Brown said he was surprised to hear Mullis had injected himself into a project that lies outside his district.
“(Opponents) say an alternate route could be done faster, but you don’t ever do environmental studies faster,” Brown said, noting that it took years of studying possible routes be-fore the current configuration was selected.
Floyd County Commission Chairman Eddie Lumsden said he was disappointed by Mullis’ actions and wondered how much the senator knows about the project issues.
“He is a member of this regional transportation roundtable but, to my knowledge, he’s never been to a meeting,” Lumsden said.
STB board member Jeff Lewis of Cartersville said it’s unclear how Mullis’ letter may affect the project.
“His position lends weight, but it’s just his opinion,” Lewis said. “We still need a road to connect Floyd and western Bartow to I-75 and we need it yesterday.”
Mullis did not immediately return a call for comment and the Rome News-Tribune is continuing to try to reach him.
Read more: RN-T.com - State Sen Mullis opposes selected 411 Connector route