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T-SPLOST approval leads region

05/22/2018

Source: Valdosta Daily Times

VALDOSTA — A majority of South Georgia voters approved T-SPLOST Tuesday, according to preliminary numbers from 18 counties Tuesday night.

The 1 percent transportation special purpose local option sales tax garnered 19,975 yes votes to 17,731 no votes, according to a county-by-county compilation of results available at the Georgia Secretary of State's website.

The results represent numbers supplied by the 18 counties in the South Georgia T-SPLOST region.

Lowndes County residents voted against the regional transportation special purpose local option sales tax by 1,377 votes.

However, Lowndes is only one part of a decision to be made across a multi-county region. If the tax is passed by a majority of voters across the 18-county region, T-SPLOST goes into effect Oct. 1. Unconstrained funds will begin going to counties to use on projects Nov. 1, according to state officials.

T-SPLOST is a 1 percent, 10-year sales tax that would fund local transportation projects. For T-SPLOST to officially go into effect, T-SPLOST needs to win the popular vote across 18 counties, said Corey Hull, transportation and environment director for Southern Georgia Regional Commission.

T-SPLOST was voted down back in 2012, which cost the region many transportation projects, according to state officials.

There are 150 transportation projects on the line for T-SPLOST. Valdosta has nine projects and Lowndes County has 12, all of which would be funded by the regional T-SPLOST. The 1-cent tax is expected to generate more than $500 million across the 18 counties to pay for the projects.

City and county officials both threw their support behind voting yes.

Lowndes County Commission Chairman Bill Slaughter and Valdosta Mayor John Gayle said for the city, county and region to grow and prosper, residents needed to vote in favor of the tax.

"These are good projects," Gayle said in a past interview. "And getting this passed is the only way they are going to get done."

One of the projects that made the list is installing an overpass on St. Augustine Road, which bottlenecks every morning and afternoon. Gayle said he gets regular calls of people rumbling about trains blocking traffic.

Slaughter said Lowndes County has a project to widen Old Clyattville Road west of the interstate where the four-lane stops all the way down past Wild Adventures Theme Park to Ousley Road. Briggston Road, which connects Old Clyattville Road and Madison Highway, would get paved, making it easier to get in and out of the theme park.

"This accomplishes two things," Slaughter said in a past interview. "One is that it boosts an economic engine with Wild Adventures and eliminates the rail-crossing issue farther up the road at St. Augustine."

The completion of each of these projects would create many jobs, and once the projects are done, with a stronger infrastructure, there would be a boon to the economy, the chairman and mayor agreed.

"It's an economical development creator," Gayle said. "The better roads we have, the better transportation we have, the more people will look at us."

• Atkinson: 460 yes, 267 no

• Bacon: 536 yes, 425 no

• Ben Hill: 1,151 yes, 431 no

• Berrien: 1,142 yes, 927 no

• Brantley: 702 yes, 877 no

• Brooks: 992 yes, 868 no

• Charlton: 576 yes, 364 no

• Clinch: 634 yes, 269 no

• Coffee 2,076 yes, 1,050 no

• Cook: 884 yes, 648 no

• Echols: 191 yes, 236 no

• Irwin: 638 yes, 247 no

• Lanier: 637 yes, 473 no

• Lowndes: 3,618 yes, 4,995 no

• Pierce: 1,690 yes, 1,161 no

• Tift: 2,698 yes, 1,560 no

• Turner: 511 yes, 509 no

• Ware: 839, yes, 2,424 no

Source: Valdosta Daily Times


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