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Exchange members hear pitch for T-SPLOST

Bob Alexander explains the Dougherty Area Reional Transportation Study to the Exchange Club of Albany on Friday.

Bob Alexander explains the Dougherty Area Reional Transportation Study to the Exchange Club of Albany on Friday.

ALBANY, Ga. — The Exchange Club of Albany counts members from Lee County, and at the club’s Friday meeting it heard from individuals described as hailing from “The Northern Territories.”

Bob Alexander, director of Lee County’s Planning and Engineering department, explained transportation construction investments planned for Dougherty and Lee counties. Lee Chamber of Commerce President Winston Oxford pitched for a yes vote on a transportation tax.

The T-SPLOST, special-purpose local-option transportation sales tax, vote will be held July 31. Oxford urged Exchangites to vote yes.

“Southwest Georgia has lost jobs for decades because we have no interstate highway near us,” Oxford said. “The construction alone could generate 14,000 new jobs in the next 10 years. Then there are the other jobs in support of the construction workers.”

According to a pamphlet handed out by Oxford, 70 projects are planned for the Southwest Georgia region’s 14 counties, including Dougherty and Lee.

If the penny local sales tax isn’t passed, there could be a 27-cent increase in the gas tax to pay for statewide construction, Oxford said. And with a statewide gas tax comes a local loss of control over the money, he added.

“The legislature is controlled by Atlanta,” Oxford said. “You really think the legislators in Atlanta care about Southwest Georgia?”

To attract business and economic development to the area, good roads are needed, Oxford said. And creating jobs and saving the jobs already here will depend on attracting economic development, he added.

“This is an opportunity to vote on an unemployment rate decrease for us,” Oxford said. “Vote yes on T-SPLOST. Please.”

The sales tax will generate $398 million for projects in the region, Alexander said. But that is 75 percent of what is expected to be raised. The other 25 percent would be sent to local governments for transportation needs to use as they saw fit.

Some of the planned projects in the region include 10 miles of Forrester Parkway improvement, 13 miles of Ledo Road widening, a 30-mile Clark Avenue extension and 16 miles of improvements to Clark Avenue.

Comments

DoctorDorite 2 years ago

The money collected will just be mis-directed and mis-spent like the lottery money is currently being handled. Remember when it was used to buy computers for every classroom in our schools in Ga., tuition for all with good grades, needed books etc. but its has'nt been used for the intended purpose for years so where is it going ? They won't give straight answers because they don't have to, no one will be accountable. Its not the roads that limit our areas growth, its the poloticians.

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Trustbuster 2 years ago

I beg to differ with Mr. Oxford's assertion that SW GA has lost jobs for decades because no interstate highway system ran through the Albany-Lee Co. area. If Mr. Oxford examined the labor statistics over the past couple of decades job growth has steadily increased until this recession began. The closing of Cooper Tire and other businesses are tied to either declining sales or rising healthcare costs. The loss of jobs in this region has nothing to do with infrastructure. The highway system in our region is well maintained and lanes have been added along HWY 82.

I wish community members would look at the facts instead of the political propaganda promoted by these vested interests. By the way the jobs created by the T-SPLOST funds are not count as "job-years" since the projects only last for a period of time. In other words they are not permanent jobs like working at Cooper Tire or Miller-Coors. Kudos for this misleading information.

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dingleberry 2 years ago

South GA in general and Albany in particular are not attracting jobs, and are losing jobs we already have for, reasons well beyond lack of interstate or other highways. You could turn Albany into a "wagon wheel" of six lane high speed highways and it won't make the slightest difference in attracting any major employer. When the largest industry is "poverty", the school system is an abysmal failure, crime is the first 5 minutes of the news each night, medical costs are through the roof, and taxes are among the highest in the state, who in their right mind would want to come, or stay for that matter.

So let's tack on "just one more penny" to create a few temporary jobs for workers at Oxford and Reeves and some unspecified "phantom jobs" for the rest of us. Add the penny tax and add to the problem we already have.with being overtaxed. At this point perhaps it doesn't really make a difference to a cadaver.

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Cartman 2 years ago

We do have an employment problem in our area - but it isn't the roads and highways.

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stc1993 2 years ago

There is no major business in the world that would locate in Dougherty Co. They would take one look at the crime stats & education level of the citizens & they wouldn't think for a second of locating here. I knew one of the math teachers at the Vo/Tech. school (now retired) He told me in 1996 in his classes he had over 160 students doing remedial math that is taught in the 5th grade, adding, subtracting fractions & decimal point numbers. They couldn't even do it. Bottom of the barrel in a state third from the bottom.

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