Connect Georgia’s Heath Garrett explains the benefits of passing next year’s TSPLOST to local business leaders Wednesday at Doublegate Country Club.
ALBANY — Connect Georgia, a group that is pushing for approval of a transportation special-purpose local-option sales tax (TSPLOST) on the November 2012 ballot, brought its message Wednesday to Doublegate Country Club, making a pitch to local business leaders.
“The TSPLOST is the greatest economic development opportunity in Georgia in the last 50 years,” Connect Georgia’s Heath Garrett said. “It’s an opportunity to inject $19.5 billion statewide in direct transportation investment which will lead to real jobs in local areas.
“It’s important to know that the estimated $1.5 billion that will be raised in Southwest Georgia will go directly to projects in Region 10 (the 14-county Southwest Georgia area) and not one penny will go to Washington or Atlanta.”
According to Connect Georgia, a 1 percent tax in each region will go toward a list of transportation projects decided upon by local officials in each of the regions. Only projects on a region’s list will be funded by taxes raised in that region.
Eligible projects include roads, bridges, transit, freight and passenger rail, ports, airports and bicycle and and pedestrian facilities.
Regions in which voters reject the transportation tax will not receive the additional funds to pick up the cost of the transportation projects listed for their region.
“What happens to Southwest Georgia if we don’t approve this penny tax?” Dougherty County Commission Chair and long-time TSPLOST proponent Jeff Sinyard asked. “Where will we be 10 years from now? The future will be in our hands next November.”
Outgoing Albany Area Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Catherine Glover said, “We have a unique opportunity to control our own destiny.”
Heath added the TSPLOST is crucial, especially in an economically depressed area like Southwest Georgia.
“TSPLOST is even more important in Southwest Georgia than in other areas of the state,” Heath said. “The opportunity to keep Washington and Atlanta out of this level of opportunity cannot be missed. This will lead to real jobs throughout the region.”
The Federal Highway Commission estimates that every $1 billion spent on roads and bridges supports 28,000 jobs and generates up to $2.5 billion in direct and indirect economic activity.