Charlotte J. Nash | Chairman, Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners

There’s a special election under-way to decide how people in Gwinnett will get around and make connections in the future.

As the County’s new slogan says, we are a vibrantly connected community. Gwinnett has attracted businesses and residents from around the globe, and strong partnerships have helped us blossom into something exciting, colorful, and filled with life.

I’ve seen an exhilarating spirit of cooperation and connection that has for many years elevated this community and continues to strengthen it. Examples include our Partnership Gwinnett initiative to create and sustain jobs through targeted economic development and our Volunteer Gwinnett program that enabled 90,000 people to donate 1.6 million hours to improve the quality of life in our community.

Education is another pillar of Gwinnett’s success that also helps create, attract, and retain jobs in Gwinnett by providing a well-prepared work-force.

I’m proud to say that all three bond-rating agencies gave Gwinnett a Triple-A rating last year for the 21st year in a row, placing us in the top two percent of counties in the nation. Our excellent credit rating lowers our borrowing costs while voter support of SPLOST sales tax programs lets us use pay-as-you-go financing for many capital improvements like roads, parks, and libraries.

While the County handles many fundamental services, Gwinnett cities have been able to focus resources on place making and nurturing a sense of community that makes each of them uniquely successful.

Services that the County provides to almost all of Gwinnett include water, sewer, transportation, fire/EMS, courts, sheriff, and libraries, and the Gwinnett Police Department serves the majority of the County as well. We work with Gwinnett’s 16 cities to provide efficient, effective services throughout Gwinnett. Incidentally, about 25 percent of Gwinnett’s population and area is located within cities.

Last year, we celebrated 200 years of history and the thriving community that we’ve become. Now it’s time to focus on the future. But what will Gwinnett be like decades or even a century from now?

Your Board of Commissioners is guiding many important projects now, including the exciting developments underway at the Infinite Energy Center and the potential for the OFS property on I-85 recently purchased by the County. We are building public facilities that will serve Gwinnett over a long period of time.

But in my opinion, transit is the next big decision for Gwinnett, akin to those made in the past regarding water, sewer, and roads. As I write this, voters are already showing up for advance voting on a referendum to significantly expand transit options throughout the county. Election Day is March 19.

Our road network today unites 437 square miles with more than 8,400 miles of roads and links us to our nearly one million neighbors here in Gwin-nett and to the region. But tomorrow, roads alone cannot provide enough transportation choices for the extra 500,000 more people that we expect to call Gwinnett home in the next 20 to 25 years. We simply won’t all fit on I-85.

So as we begin our third century, Gwinnett voters are determining the future of mobility in the county.