On July 31, Georgia voters will decide whether or not to impose a 1 percent tax on every purchase for the next 10 years. The tax, which will be imposed only on those regions that pass it, will fund transportation projects on an already-specified list and will also provide discretionary funds to local governments to use for other transportation projects.
For the City of Dacula, current estimates show the passage of TSPLOST could provide $1.5 million in transportation project funding, according to Dacula Mayor Jimmy Wilbanks. The city is required to identify what projects it intends to finance with its share of the TSPLOST proceeds.
During the May 31 Dacula City Council work session, Wilbanks said the city intends to take that revenue, leverage it with Dacula’s regular special purpose local option sales tax (SPLOST) funding and accelerate the .
The city will host a Transportation Investment Act (TSPLOST) town hall meeting on July 19 from 2-4 p.m. and 5-7 p.m. Citizens will be able to stop by Dacula City Hall and ask questions regarding local projects that will be funded through TSPLOST proceeds.
“People can come in and ask questions about what we’re going to do if this thing should pass,” Wilbanks said.
Wilbanks hopes to have representatives from the Gwinnett County Department of Transportation on hand to answer questions regarding how the county intends to spend its portion of discretionary funding. In Gwinnett County, there are approximately a dozen projects that could impact Dacula, he added.
Though presented as a choice for voters, H.B. 277 -- the Transportation Investment Act -- contains penalties for regions that fail to adopt the TSPLOST. If a region adopts the TSPLOST, local governments will only be required to pay 10 percent in matching funds for projects receiving funding from the Georgia Department of Transportation. If the region holds a referendum, but fails to pass the TSPLOST, local governments will be required to post 30 percent in matching funds.
“That’s something to think about,” Wilbanks said.
Does the prospect of penalties have any impact on your decision as to whether or not to vote for TSPLOST? Let us know in the comments?
While voters may be reluctant to pass a new tax, the matter may be one of necessity according to Wilbanks.
“You can’t fix roads, you can’t hire people, you can’t do things without money and we don’t have any. As a government, we don’t have any,” he said.
Wilbanks encouraged voters to consider the matter carefully.
“Look at the projects and see if they are going to benefit you at all,” Wilbanks said. “If they do, then you ought to vote for the referendum. If they don’t, you ought to vote against it.”
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