VALDOSTA – The Southern Georgia Regional Commission has been awarded a 2019 Excellence in Regional Transportation Award from the National Association of Development Organizations for the Southern Georgia Regional Transportation Sales Tax Initiative.

The Transportation Investment Act of 2010, also called TSPLOST, allows for regions throughout Georgia to have the ability to impose a 1 percent sales tax to fund transportation improvements within the region, state officials said. 

Transportation improvements consist of pavement maintenance, road construction, bridge, safety, transit, aviation, bicycle and pedestrian projects. 

A majority of the Southern Georgia counties passed resolutions to initiate the process in 2017 for a regional transportation sales tax. The role of the SGRC was to administer the process. Through collaborative and transparent administration of the 2010 Transportation Investment Act, voters in Southern Georgia approved the TIA in May 2018. 

“The SGRC was able to utilize our role as a facilitator to our local governments to demonstrate how coordination, inter-governmental collaboration, transparency and regional engagement can successfully be implemented to gain support for initiatives that have the potential to benefit an entire region,” said Lisa Cribb, SGRC executive director. “The TIA provided an opportunity to create and analyze best practices for regional and inter-governmental collaboration, which can be shared with other regions that are considering regional initiatives.”

During the first five months of sales tax collections, more than $16.6 million has been generated to fund transportation projects on the approved regional investment list, another $5.5 million has been distributed to local governments to spend on local transportation infrastructure improvements such as road resurfacing or buying road-grading equipment. 

The Georgia Department of Transportation is expected to award contracts on the first round TIA projects listed on the regional investment list for the Southern Region in spring 2019.

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