Valdosta Daily Times

Local News

June 10, 2012

What is T-SPLOST?

VALDOSTA — Editor’s Note: This article is the first in a multi-part series on T-SPLOST that will appear in The Valdosta Daily Times’ Sunday edition.

VALDOSTA — New overpasses, bike lanes and highway rehabilitations are just a few of the transportation projects that could be funded if citizens approve a new one-cent sales tax at the polls on July 31.

Georgia is the only state in the nation that has proposed another sales tax referendum to help pay for transportation projects.

The Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax, or T-SPLOST, is estimated to collect $670 million in revenue over the next ten years in the Southern Region (Region 11) which consists of 18 counties, including Lowndes, Tift, Coffee and Ware.

Lowndes County will by far be the largest T-SPLOST contributor in the Southern Region with $252 million over ten years. Tift County is expected to contribute $94 million; Ware County will provide $73 million and Coffee County will collect $65 million.

Some of the projects on Lowndes County’s list include a four-lane overpass on St. Augustine Road over the CSX Railroad at $12 million; the widening of Old Clyattville Road from I-75 to Ousley Road at $17 million, and the widening of Forrest Street from Park Avenue to Bemiss Road, along with pedestrian and bike travel infrastructure, at $11.4 million.

Many of the projects in Lowndes County would not begin construction until 2020.

In 2010, the Georgia General Assembly passed the Transportation Investment Act (TIA, Georgia House Bill 277) which created regional entities that would be responsible for developing a project list.

The Statewide Strategic Transportation Plan (SSTP) 2010-2030, which was approved by former Gov. Sonny Perdue and Georgia Department of Transportation chairman Bill Kuhlke in April of 2010, became a guidebook for what would become T-SPLOST.

The figures used in the SSTP drew a bleak picture of Georgia as a state with dismal funding of transportation projects. In 2009, Georgia had the second lowest per capita spending for transportation projects in the nation, second only to Tennessee. Georgia also was second only to Alaska in motor fuel tax revenues.

Currently, GDOT spends about $1 billion each year on transportation, with about a third for new projects, a third for paying back loans and bonds and the final $333 million on repair and repaving projects.

With federal and state governments cutting budgets across the country, it is unlikely this $1 billion will be increased in the near future.

Corey Hull of the Valdosta-Lowndes County Metropolitan Planning Organization said that many states are watching T-SPLOST in Georgia and depending on how it goes, may choose to implement their own transportation sales tax.

In 2011, 63 county and city officials formed a Regional Roundtable for the Southern Region and developed a recommended list of projects to be funded with T-SPLOST. These projects will be funded with 75 percent of the tax collections, while local governments will receive the remaining 25 percent in the form of discretionary funds, which will be distributed to each local government on a quarterly or monthly basis.

The 25 percent of discretionary funds are more flexible and can be used for a variety of local transportation projects. The total amount for each county or city is calculated using population, 20 percent, and total road mileage, 80 percent.

Projects on the “wishlist” that are funded by the 75 percent, non-discretionary collections must be paid up front by either the local government agency or Georgia Department of Transportation. Only after the project is completed will the Georgia State Financing and Investment Commission refund those up-front costs.

All 12 regions in Georgia developed a project list, in part to avoid certain “incentives or punishments,” depending on the interpretation of the law. If the region did not develop a project list, they would be responsible for a 50 percent match with all Local Maintenance & Improvement Grant (LMIG) funds which is currently received from the state motor fuel tax.

Currently, local government agencies are required to match between zero and 10 percent of all LMIG funds.

If T-SPLOST passes in July, local governments will be required to match 10 percent of all LMIG funds. Anything less than a 10 percent match will not be an option. If the one percent sales tax does not pass, they will be required to match 30 percent of LMIG.

Hull said in small jurisdictions such as Atkinson or Echols Counties, it is naturally more difficult to match LMIG funds compared to a larger county or city.

“Some of the representatives have said they may have to forego receiving that money,” said Hull.

Projects like the widening of Forrest Street are present on both the Transportation Investment Plan (TIP) and the T-SPLOST list.

According to Hull, if 50 percent of the voting population plus one more citizen approves T-SPLOST in July, the federal funding will be re-allocated to another project in the same congressional district. He said that any listed T-SPLOST project that doesn’t have federal or state money attached somewhere else will probably be pushed back to an even later date.

For a complete list of Region 11 proposed projects visit www.t-splost.com.

For more on this story and other local news, subscribe to The Valdosta Daily Times e-Edition, or our print edition

1
Text Only
Local News
  • 072514-MoodyComp007.jpg Moody AFB crews race in load competition

    Moody Air Force Base hosted a weapons load competition Friday morning, a maintenance group tradition in which two 23d Maintenance Group A-10 munition load crews raced against the clock to load munitions onto an A-10C Thunderbolt II.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • moonshine bust.jpg Police close illegal drinking house

    After receiving numerous complaints, the Valdosta Police Department shut down an illegal alcohol sales operation Friday.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • election.jpg Black earns most votes in runoff

    State Rep. Ellis Black led the votes for state Senate District 8 Friday with seven of seven counties reporting certified results, according to the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140724-LAT1.jpg Little Actors Theatre ready for summer show

    Since 2004, the Little Actors Theatre has provided a place for children ages 6 to 19 to express themselves through acting.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • 072414-MichelleNunn003.jpeg Michelle Nunn visits Valdosta

    The day after learning that her Republican challenger would be David Perdue, Democratic U.S. Senate hopeful Michelle Nunn kicked off her Common Sense and Collaboration Tour Wednesday by meeting with business owners in Atlanta, Athens and Macon and continued her tour Thursday morning by visiting the David S. Waller Unit facility of the Boys and Girls Club of Valdosta.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • lunch.jpg Valdosta One Lunch feeds summer-hungry kids

    Hunger is a concept that many people associate with third-world countries, not their hometown. However, in Valdosta, hunger is real. To combat this hunger, a group of Valdostans have created Valdosta One Lunch, a program that distributes bagged meals to children in need.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • thumbs up.jpeg Moody squadron commander reaches milestone

    The 75th Fighter Squadron commander hit a career milestone July 17, by surpassing 3,000 flight hours in an A-10C Thunderbolt II.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • water.jpg New equipment expected to deal with Lowndes water violations

    The Lowndes County Commission’s recent approval of $1.6 million for water-treatment equipment is expected to counter a past series of water-quality violations within the county.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • 142314-Goodwill.jpg Goodwill hosts the Mexican Consulate

    Mexican citizens living in South Georgia have spent this week lining up at the Valdosta Goodwill to meet with the Mexican Consulate to obtain Mexican government issued identification.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140723-Tree001.jpg Chamber plants 100th centennial tree

    Founded in September 1912, the Valdosta-Lowndes County Chamber of Commerce is one of the largest chambers in the state.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

Top News
Poll

School starts again in about two weeks. What do you think?

It's still summer. School starts too soon.
Seems like the right time to return.
Abolish summer recess. Make school year-round.
     View Results