ALBANY, Ga. — City officials have released a tentative sketch of how they might spend the city's portion of 25 percent discretionary funding linked to a transportation sales tax initiative.
The list is tentative and would have to be approved by the Albany City Commission before becoming final, but it includes millions of dollars for road resurfacing projects across the city, the widening of Pointe North Boulevard from Dawson Road to Old Dawson Road, intersection improvements and traffic signal improvements.
The list also includes maintenance and repair of the East Broad underpass bridge, sidewalk repair and installation across the city, and alley paving.
The special-purpose local-option transportation sales tax referendum is on the July 31 ballot for Southwest Georgians. If approved, the additional 1 percent sales tax is expected to generate $530 million for the 14-county Southwest Georgia region over the next 10 years.
Contracting, financial safeguards and priorities were the primary questions asked by those who attended a T-SPLOST forum hosted by Ward IV City Commissioner Roger Marietta and Darton's Democrat, Independent, Republican Team Wednesday.
Hamp Smith, a former coach and community activist, said the region could ill afford to wait any longer to widen State Highway 133 and that the project should be among the first started if the referendum passes.
"I've talked to a few truck drivers, and they catch holy hell coming in on 133," Smith said. "We need it widened all the way to (Interstate) 75. One thirty-three is priority one."
Another person, who didn't identify himself, said he wanted to know what safeguards were in place to ensure that local contractors, especially minorities, would get an opportunity at the contracts.
Marietta said that at least one of the regional projects involved construction at the Southwest Georgia Regional Airport and that any airport construction requires that a certain percentage of the subcontracting work be done by minority contractors.
Other than that, Marietta noted, it's a matter of the lowest, most qualified bidder on each project.
Another person asked why the state hadn't considered limiting this tax to businesses rather than passing along the tax to people who can't afford it.
The full forum will be aired on local cable access channel 19 at a time yet to be determined.