A look at TSPLOST: The local project list, projected funding, and the voting process

Funding

Approved by the Georgia legislature, the Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (TSPLOST) referendum involves the division of the state into 10 regions. Spalding County is one of 10 that comprises Region 4.

According to Spalding County Commissioner Eddie Freeman, the TSPLOST funds generated locally would be designated for Region 4 transportation projects.

He said the one cent sales tax, if approved, would produce a projected $97,893,559 million for Region 4.

Of these funds, 75 percent would be non-discretionary, and these monies would be earmarked for items on the individual county’s Approved Project List.

The remaining 25 percent would be discretionary, with each county comprising Region 4 using the tax revenue to fund additional local transportation needs.

Some opponents have decried the TSPLOST, alleging that some counties within the various 10 Georgia regions would serve as so-called donor counties – they would contribute the bulk of the tax revenue while deriving minimal benefit – while so-called net counties would benefit from the majority of projects and funding.

However, Three Rivers Regional Commission Transportation Planner Anthony Dukes said the TSPLOST is not based upon any type of net/donor county principle.

“For counties that are smaller or were less prepared and didn’t have a list of projects – which is the crucial aspect – what they were able to submit probably didn’t utilize all the funding that was available to them,” he said. “Other communities that would perhaps receive a greater portion of the money have projects that will benefit other communities, as well. That’s the point of the TSPLOST – to look at this from the perspective of what’s going to be beneficial not only to individual counties, but the region as a whole.”

Freeman also explained that one additional factor – the matching funds requirement – is of tremendous importance.

If the TSPLOST passes in Region 4, future projects will be funded at a rate of 90 percent, with local government funding the balance of 10 percent. However, if voters do not approve the TSPLOST, those figures change significantly.

“If it’s not approved, the state will only fund transportation projects at 70 percent. That means that local governments have to come up with a much bigger portion of the funding for these projects,” Freeman said.

Dukes said the necessity of the TSPLOST is based on the reality that state and federal funding for transportation – historically derived from gasoline taxes – is now insufficient to meet the needs. He said ongoing economic struggles, higher gasoline prices and more highly-fuel efficient vehicles have resulted in reduced gasoline usage and lower tax revenues.

Voting Process

Spalding County voters will soon have a say – but not the final decision – in determining whether the local sales tax will remain at its current rate of seven percent or increase by one penny when they take to the polls and cast ballots in a statewide referendum for the Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (TSPLOST).

As part of Region 4, which also includes Butts, Carroll, Coweta, Heard, Lamar, Meriwether, Pike, Troup and Upson counties, the vote tally of individual counties will not be the decisive factor.

“The region either votes it up or votes it down,” explained Three Rivers Regional Commission Transportation Planner Anthony Dukes.

If local voters do not support the transportation funding measure, but the majority of voters in the region do, Spalding County will not have the ability to opt out of the tax increase.

“It could be that only the three largest counties vote it (TSPLOST) in. It’s based on the popular vote throughout the region,” Dukes said. “If the number of people in the region that supports it outnumbers the number who oppose it, it passes.” Ω

 Spalding County Project List:

The Spalding County approved project list for the upcoming TSPLOST includes many local improvements to dangerous intersections, as well as projects that local officials say have the potential to positively impact commercial and industrial growth.

Commuter Rail (Study) Atlanta to Griffin-Spalding County
Cost: $3,000,000   |  Funding amount: $3,000,000
TIMELINE: NA

County Line Road at Macon Road Intersection Improvements
Cost: $960,000  |   Funding amount: $960,000
TIMELINE: 2013-2015

Experiment Street Multi-use Path and Intersection Improvement Program
Cost: $4,656,700  |   Funding amount: $4,656,700
TIMELINE: 2016-2019

Moreland Road Extension
Cost: $2,375,000  |  Funding amount: $2,375,000
TIMELINE: 2016-2019

N. Expressway/Varsity Road Extension & Improvements
Cost: $5,361,000  |   Funding amount:$5,361,000
TIMELINE: 2016-2019

N. Hill Street Bridge Reconstruction at Cabin Creek
Cost: $599,668   |  Funding amount: $599,668
TIMELINE: 2013-2015

N. Hill Street Improvements
Cost: $11,695,200  |   Funding amount: $11,695,200
TIMELINE: 2016-2019

N. Pine Hill Road/Henry Jackson Road Realignment
Cost: $2,900,000  |   Funding amount: $2,900,000
TIMELINE: 2013-2015

New or Improved Griffin-Spalding Airport
Cost: $47,820,000  |   Funding amount: $11,152,500
TIMELINE: 2020-2022

S. McDonough Rd at Johnston Rd Intersection Improvements
Cost: $1,760,000  |   Funding amount:$1,760,000
TIMELINE: 2013-2015

Solomon Street/High Falls Road/Searcy Street/NS Intersection Reconstruction
Cost:  $2,640,000  |  Funding amount:$2,640,000
TIMELINE: 2013-2015

Spalding County Pedestrian Connector
Cost:  $7,122,302  |  Funding amount:$7,122,302
TIMELINE: 2020-2022

SR155 Re-designation from Jackson Rd to N. McDonough Rd
Cost: $14,389,455  |  Funding amount: $14,389,455
TIMELINE: 2016-2019

SR 3/US 19 Turn Lanes Addition at SR 16
Cost: $14,718,995  |  Funding amount:  $2,331,401
TIMELINE: 2016-2019

Teamon/School Rd at Old Atlanta Rd Intersection Const.
Cost: $1,760,000  |  Funding amount: $1,760,000
TIMELINE: 2013-2015

 

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Comments

  1. EBurkeDisciple says:

    the project list for Spaulding looks fairly good but I encourage everyone to vote against the TSPLOST for several reasons: 1) it is a new tax that adds to the tax we have always paid for transportation projects without any reimbursement or reduction of the original tax 2) the decision makers are generally unelected an unaccountable 3) this is the largest tax proposition in GA history in revenue produced and has the least accountability – projects can be changed without vote 4) our legislators considered increasing the gas tax, the normal way to fund transportation needs, but ran scared in favor of a scheme to make it look like we voted a tax on ourselves. While we need transportation reform this is NOT the way to do it.

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