2015-08-06 / Front Page

T-SPLOST funds equipment and projects for counties in the CSRA

As elected officials across the na­tion struggle to secure funding for critical transportation infrastructure maintenance and improvements, communities in three regions in Georgia are reaping the benefits of the Transportation Investment Act (TIA), which voters passed through a referendum held in July of 2012.

The citizens of these regions, which include the CSRA, River Val­ley, and Heart of Georgia Altamaha regions, are funding 871 transpor­tation projects through a one-cent sales tax or T-SPLOST (Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax for Transportation) collected over 10 years.

The Georgia DOT is overseeing management of the budget, sched­uling, execution, and delivery of all TIA projects in collaboration with local and state agencies.

“The three regions that approved the TIA are starting to see the results of their investments,” said Mike Dover, state TIA administrator.

“By voting to tax themselves and working together to identify and pri­oritize projects, citizens and public officials in these regions are address­ing a variety of local transportation issues, from road maintenance and expansion to the enhancement of pedestrian and bicycle infrastruc­ture. These transportation system improvements will benefit residents and visitors in these regions for many years to come.”

The three regions are comprised of 46 counties; nine regions voted against the tax.

Collections of the one-cent tax be­gan in January 2013 to fund projects in Band I (January 2013 – December 2015), which are scheduled to at least begin construction by the end of this year.

To date, more than $328 million has been collected of the budgeted $1.2 billion. This total includes $151,722,522 of the $538,965,884 budgeted for 84 projects in the CSRA.

All of the projects were selected by regional commission roundtables comprised of local officials after much public input.

Seventy-five percent of the rev­enues collected are being utilized for the construction of the projects se­lected by the roundtables, while the remaining 25 percent is disbursed to the governing bodies in each region, using a predetermined formula, for local transportation-related efforts.

To date, the monies allocated to Lincoln County have funded the fol­lowing purchases and projects: l Three pick-up trucks for the road department, $67,325. l A John Deere tractor with a side-boom mower, $106,150. l A 10-foot Flex wing mower, $13,500. l A road striper, $11,500. l Replacement of the old fuel system with a new accountability system, $14,000. l Paving 6.23 miles of existing roads, $462,000. l Patching and repairing over 28 miles of roads, $520,000. l Making major repairs to a washed-out portion of Walker Hawes Road, $46,000.

The projects total more than $1.2 million and represent over 4.5 mills of tax.

In his comments, Wade Johnson, chairman of the Lincoln County Board of Commissioners, said, “If it were not for T-SPLOST, we could not have accomplished the things on this list without raising the millage rate. Hopefully, we will be able to patch and pave a lot more roads and purchase additional equipment in the future.

“T-SPLOT has meant a great deal to this county.”

As for regional projects, T- SPLOST funds were used to install passing lanes on the Augusta High­way in Lincoln County.

To date, the CSRA region has seven completed projects, including roadway and intersection improve­ments as well as a new bicycle path near Sparta. An additional 14 projects that range from signal and intersection improvements to airport upgrades are under construction. Another 30 projects in Band I are slated to begin construction by the end of the calendar year.

The Augusta area in particular is going to be experiencing a lot of construction in the coming months, so residents and visitors are encour­aged to regularly check the Georgia NaviGAtor website or call 511 for updates on construction and poten­tial travel delays.

One unique project that is nearing completion in the CSRA region is the replacement of 20 hangar doors at Daniel Field, just west of the City of Augusta. The hangar doors on the bulk hangar and maintenance hangar at the facility are over 70 years old.

Meanwhile, in Wilkes County, a major road resurfacing project is underway. Robert Toombs Avenue, which runs through the City of Washington, is being milled and repaved at a cost of $695,000 in TIA funds. The project is scheduled for completion early this month.

For updates on projects funded by the Transportation Investment Act, visit www.ga-tia.com.

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