T-SPLOST: What is at Stake for Athens, Ga.?
Will the one-cent sales tax take a victory lap or crash and burn?
Athens voters will go to the polls on July 31 to select ACC Commissioners and Republican or Democratic candidates for public offices. Voters will also decide whether to impost a one-cent sales tax on themselves to fund transportation projects.
For the so-called T-SPLOST. the state has been divided into regions along the same lines as it has been for the Regional Development Commissions. Athens is in roughly the center of a 12-county region in Northeast Georgia.
Here are a few things about the T-SPLOST you might not have realized:
- There is no way for a county in a voting region to opt out of T-SPLOST. It will pass by a majority of votes, not on a county-by-county basis. Or, it won’t pass. It will last for 10 years.
- The State DOT is going to reward those regions in which voters have approved the T-SPLOST and punish those which have not. Counties in regions giving the T-SPLOST a thumb’s up will match only 10 percent of future Local Maintenance and Improvement Grants with local money while the state pays 90 percent. If a county’s region votes down the T-SPLOST, each county will pay 30 percent. Counties now pay about a 20 percent match.
- The Northeast Georgia Region will generate about $988 million over 10 years, $744 million of which will be spend on regional projects. In the Northeast Georgia region, there are 70 projects, of which 18 are in Athens Clarke County.
- If the Northeast Georgia region passes the T-SPLOST, Athens Clarke County will get about $2.01 million annually to spend on local projects, which can include everything from sidewalks and bike paths to road resurfacing and intersection improvements. The state has no oversight of these projects, says ACC public works director David Clark.
Athens Patch will carry a detailed list of the 18 projects on Tuesday, so stay tuned.