The Board of Commissioners agreed to pay Dutch engineering firm Arcadis $1.4 million in February to prepare a transportation plan, a study the county conducts every five years to be eligible for state and federal grants.
Lee plans to ask the Board of Commissioners to raise the bill to $1,768,000 Tuesday.
The chairman said the initial $1.4 million payment was for the firm to conduct an engineering analysis of the county’s transportation needs.
But about two months ago, Lee said he decided the report should include what the community wanted its transportation improvements to be as well as how the county could go about paying for them.
“I think it needs to all be done at once,” Lee said. “What are our needs? What does the public think? How do we fund it?”
Lee said he made the decision to expand the scope of the report “after thinking back on past programs and how the landscape and community involvement has changed my last couple years. I figured this is going to be a big update, this is going to be a multiple year (report), and I just felt that it was a better way to go about it.”
Yet Commissioner Bob Ott said he has a few questions about the added $368,000 expense.
“I have concerns about a 25 percent increase in the contract,” Ott said. “I’m wondering what the increase in scope is because at the work session all the things that appear to be being added we were told they were going to be there, so how did the scope all of a sudden change from the original $1.4 million contract?”
There are a number of other transportation reports the county has commissioned, such as the $1.8 million “Northwest Corridor Alternatives Analysis” study led by Marietta-based Croy Engineering, which recommended the county build a $1.1 billion bus system connecting Kennesaw State University with Midtown, Atlanta. The county is also paying Cary, N.C.-based Kimley-Horn and Associates $3 million for an environmental study of the proposed bus route, expected to be finished next summer.
Lee said those studies will be folded into the Arcadis report, which he expects the board will receive in fall 2014.
Lee said while he personally favors the KSU to Midtown bus proposal, he won’t do it if it doesn’t have support from the community.
Part of Arcadis’ job is to find out was residents want. He acknowledged with a dose of skepticism that the study could even show that residents want to build a monorail like the one former county Chairman Bill Byrne once considered.
“Who knows? I’m for jet packs myself,” Lee said.
The meeting, which begins at 9 a.m. Tuesday, will be in the board room at 100 Cherokee St. in Marietta.