Local consultant engineer Roger Dill continued with the facts on the Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax referendum at the Tifton-Tift County Chamber of Commerce’s June membership meeting, which was held at noon Thursday at the Georgia Museum of Agriculture and Historic Village, after members heard from chamber member Keri Jones.
Like Jones and several others, Dill explained that the T-SPLOST is an investment for the state of Georgia’s future. He agreed with what Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle had recently said about the Atlanta airport and Savannah seaport being significant investments for Georgia. Dill said they have made Georgia what it is today.
He explained that the benefits of the plan will be special projects, which were selected by a roundtable.
According to Connect Georgia, regional roundtables made up of county commission chairs and mayors were formed in each of Georgia’s regional commission districts. Each group worked with the public and the Georgia Department of Transportation to create a list of transportation projects for their region. Those projects were vetted both by GDOT and voters through public hearings.
Connect Georgia further explains that local officials in each region developed a list of transportation projects that can be funded by the additional revenue generated — and only projects on this approved list will be funded.
Projects include roads, bridges, transit, freight and passenger rail, ports, airports, and bicycle and pedestrian facilities as determined by each region. Regions where voters do not approve the transportation tax will not receive the additional funds to pay for proposed projects in their region.
Dill said the 25 percent that will be used for local projects in the region, Tifton/Tift County will get approximately $1.175 million each year, which would be instrumental in helping to keep the transportation system in good shape.
He stated, “It’s an investment. We can apply this to anything we need for transportation.”
Connect Georgia states that of the total revenue raised in each region, 75 percent will go toward the regional projects lists and 25 percent will go back to cities and counties to use for local transportation projects.
Dill noted that the proposed bypass, which will start on Highway 82 and will go around the south of Tifton and then will tie back into Highway 319, will be on the special projects list. He said another concept hearing is being planned on the bypass proposal location, which will be held by the end of this month or sometime in July. Other projects include fixing up Old Ocilla Road and Highway 319 (from Tifton to Ocilla).
“There’s not any bridge in Tift County that is 100 percent safe,” he stated. “Twenty-five percent will be used to ensure they’re safe.”
He added, “T-SPLOST is the best investment we’ll ever have. The money will not go to Atlanta; it will stay here and we will have a chance to keep our roads intact.”
The proposed one-penny tax on a $50,000 vehicle would be a one percent payment on the first $5,000 on any car you buy, which would come to $50.
Dill told the group, “Let’s look at T-SPLOST as an investment.”
According to Connect Georgia, voters should say ‘yes’ to the 2012 T-SPLOST because despite Georgia’s fast-growing population, the state spends less per capita on transportation than almost any other state. Investing in transportation will bring jobs to Georgia and make the roads safer for drivers and their families. In every region of the state, bridges are falling apart, roads are unpaved and in disrepair, and truck traffic clogs community streets.
Connect Georgia states, “The states we compete with for jobs have taken transportation seriously, investing in it while Georgia has stalled.”
The general primary election is July 31. Early voting begins July 9.
For more information on the T-SPLOST, visit www.connectgeorgia2012.com or www.facebook.com/ConnectGeorgia.
To contact reporter Latasha Everson, call 382-4321.