Whether you are for it or against it, TSPLOST has become a part of daily conversation. On Monday, the Rotary Club of Sandy Springs’ guest speaker explained the basics of the measure during the club’s weekly luncheon.
Jim Durrett, executive director of the Buckhead Community Improvement District and a MARTA board member, said without a clear understanding of TSPLOST, voters could be discouraged by language on the ballot, on July 31st.
Something like, “Will you agree to a one percent sales tax to improve transportation in Atlanta and the state of Georgia” is ambiguous, he said.
He offered the following facts:
- The Transportation Investment Act of 2010 allowed Georgia to divide into 12 regions. On July 31st, voters in those regions will decide if they want an increased sales tax of one percent for 10 years.
- In 2011 dollars, the tax would amount to $7.2 billion.
- Regionally, it would fund projects in Fulton, Dekalb, Cobb, Gwinnett, Clayton, Cherokee, Douglas, Fayette, Henry and Rockdale Counties.
- If TSPLOST is approved, the Legislature requires that 15 percent or $1 billion be set aside for local projects. For example, Sandy Springs would receive an estimated $1,841,969 annually for transportation projects.
- Elected officials in the 12 regions across Georgia participated in regional roundtables and came up with a list of 157 projects that would be funded by the remaining $6.2 billion. Those projects would include transit, roads, bike and pedestrian paths, and small airfields.
- If a majority of the counties in the Atlanta region votes yes for TSPLOST and a lesser number votes no, the measure will pass and the counties that voted no will participate in the one percent sales tax.
Durrett believes that if TSPLOT is approved the region is likely to receive federally matched funds. If it is not passed, the percentage match from future state investments will increase, he said.
“Local governments will have to match future state investments at 30 percent, which is greater than what [they] put in today,” he said. “Today it’s 10 percent to draw down 90 percent.”