The Atlanta Regional Commission will conduct a series of Wireside Chats beginning June 4.
The chats, inspired by President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Fireside Chats, will allow local officials and transportation experts to answer questions and provide information by phone to participants who sign up.
Twelve sessions will begin June 4 and will wrap up on June 14.
Two sessions will be on one day, one starting at 6:15 p.m. and the other starting at 7:30 p.m.
Cherokee County’s Wireside Chat will be at 6:15 p.m. June 13 and residents will hear from County Commission Chairman Buzz Ahrens and Woodstock Mayor Donnie Henriques, who will answer questions about the projects in Cherokee.
Residents can register to participate by visiting www.wiresidechats.com or calling (404) 463-3227.
Once registered, residents will receive an email reminder and information needed for participation.
On the night of the chat, they will receive a call on the number provided during registration and after listening to a brief overview, they will have the opportunity to ask questions.
Any resident whose question isn’t answered during the chat will receive a written answer after.
Residents are asked to register in advance so they can receive maps and other material they can use as reference points during the calls, said ARC spokesman Jim Jaquish.
Jaquish said a little over 500 people have signed up throughout the 10-county metro Atlanta region.
“We’re hoping to have as many interested citizens as possible,” he said. “The idea is to inform people about the projects on the list so they can make an informed decision when they go to the polls.”
The Transportation Investment Act divided the state up into 12 regions and voters in each of those regions will vote next year whether to impose a 1 percent sales tax to fund transportation projects in their regions.
The states stipulate projects must be completed or underway within the 10-year period.
It allows for 85 percent of the funding received to be allocated to the specific projects outlined in the referendum. The other 15 percent can be allocated to local governments to spend on projects of their choosing.
The tax is expected to generate around $8 billion over the next decade in the region.
Ahrens said the purpose of the Wireside Chats is not to really have a dialogue, but to provide information.
“It makes it pretty straight forward and (it’s) important they ask a clear question so we can give them a good answer,” he said.
Projects in Cherokee County are the widening Highway 140/Hickory Flat Highway between I-575 and the Fulton County line and replacing the bridge on Bells Ferry Road over Lake Allatoona. Highway 140 will be widened from two to four lanes and will cost $190 million.
The bridge project is expected to cost about $7 million.
About $279 million of the tax is expected to be generated in Cherokee and $268.5 million of that will remain in the county.
Of that $268.5 million, the county will divide up 15 percent, or $71.5 million, among its six cities.
Ahrens said he hopes the chat will give residents and local leaders the opportunity to separate the facts from the “hype.”
He also said he and others participating will not advocate to residents how they vote, but will make sure they have the information needed before they head to the polls.
“We’re asking them to vote their choice,” he said. “We want to give them enough information so they can make an informed choice on the July 31.”