Gwinnett, Forsyth counties designated $20 million in infrastructure and transportation bill

U.S. Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux (D-Suwanee) and Lewis Cooksey, director of the Gwinnett County Department of Transportation, discuss the federal funds that could add a new public transit line in the county. (Courtesy of Tracy Moore)
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U.S. Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux (D-Suwanee) and Lewis Cooksey, director of the Gwinnett County Department of Transportation, discuss the federal funds that could add a new public transit line in the county. (Courtesy of Tracy Moore)

U.S. Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux, D-Suwanee, hopes to secure nearly $20 million of federal funding to give residents in Gwinnett and Forsyth counties new ways to traverse the suburbs.

Funding for five infrastructure and transportation projects designated by Bourdeaux are included in the INVEST in America Act, a $547 billion bill advanced by a U.S. House committee on Thursday. The House is scheduled to vote on it before July 4, she said.

Several of the projects hinge on giving residents an easy way to get around town, including a renovation to the Big Creek Greenway in Cumming, a pedestrian path at McDaniel Farm Park in Duluth and a pedestrian bridge in Sugar Hill.

The bridge in Sugar Hill will connect the downtown area to neighborhoods on the other side of Ga. 20. It will make the Gwinnett city more “walkable and connected” and get residents to their destinations without driving, said City Manager Paul Radford.

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A rendering of the pedestrian bridge in Sugar Hill that will cross Ga. 20. (Courtesy City of Sugar Hill)

A rendering of the pedestrian bridge in Sugar Hill that will cross Ga. 20. (Courtesy City of Sugar Hill)
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A rendering of the pedestrian bridge in Sugar Hill that will cross Ga. 20. (Courtesy City of Sugar Hill)

“It’s important to create a different way of being able to get around so you don’t have to drive downtown,” Bourdeaux said. “... They don’t have to park, so it increases mobility (and) public health. It’s a great amenity for economic development purposes.”

Other projects designated by Bourdeaux focus on improving access to public transit in the suburbs. Gwinnett County Department of Transportation would receive funds to build a park-and-ride lot near Lawrenceville and create a bus line to connect Gwinnett Place Mall, Sugarloaf Mills and the Mall of Georgia.

About 1.5 million people rode Gwinnett public transit each year prior to the pandemic, said Lewis Cooksey, director of the county’s transportation department. More and more people are showing an interest in public transportation to the busy mall areas as they continue to grow with development, he said.

Bourdeaux authored the Solar Use Network Act, included as part of the INVEST in America Act. This would allow interstate right-of-ways to be used for renewable energy projects, such as the installation of solar panels embedded in roads in Peachtree Corners to power electric charging stations.

The projects supported by the INVEST in America Act could help lower pollution and decrease the number of cars on traffic-heavy roads, Bourdeaux said. “As Gwinnett and Forsyth grow, they have to be more efficient about how they move people around,” she said.

The following projects could receive funding from the INVEST in America Act:

  • Park-and-ride lot for Ga. 316 at Collins Industrial Way/Ga. 20 near Lawrenceville: $4.8 million
  • Gwinnett Place Transit Center/Mall of Georgia local bus service: $5 million
  • McDaniel Farm Park Connector multi-use path: $2 million
  • Ga. 20 pedestrian bridge in Sugar Hill: $5 million
  • Big Creek Greenway renovation in Cumming: $3 million

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