Jones County hosts Biscuits and Business to discuss potential T-SPLOST projects


JONES CO., Ga. -- On Tuesday morning, Gray/Jones County Chamber of Commerce hosted the second Biscuits and Business event of the year and focused on the potential T-SPLOST projects if it passes in the May 22nd election.

The Middle Georgia Regional Commission facilitated the presentation the possible transportation projects for the county. this commission provides administrative and technical support to the Regional Transportation Roundtable and the Executive Committee throughout the process but does not have an affiliation. Their goal is to inform voters as best they can so they can make their own decisions.

Voters will go to the polls in three weeks to vote on the Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax to raise the sales tax one percent for the next ten years. Votes are tallied at a regional level, with all 11 middle Georgia districts.

If passed in the May election, the new T-SPLOST tax will go into effect on October 1, 2018 and will last for 10 years, unto 2028.

As a state, the total revenue projection is $637,746,847, according to a State Economist. Seventy-five percent of that budget will go towards a Regional Investment List totaling $478,310,135. The remaining 25-percent will be for local share totaling $159,436,712.

In addition to the funds generated by the sales tax, the Georgia Department of Transportation has committed $135 million towards completion of projects on the investment list. This investment list was selected by an Executive Committee and identified large scale projects that are critical to the movement of people and goods through the region as the highest priority. the Executive Committee consists of two members from the House of Representatives and one senator from the Middle Georgia legislative delegation. they were appointed by the House and Senate Transportation Committee Chairs, to serve as non-voting members of the Executive Committee.

The key project in Jones County is the Griswoldville Industrial Park Rail Spur. This project is estimated to cost $1,693,500 and is expected to begin in 2023. The reasoning behind this project is to enhance safety, according to Middle Georgia Regional Commission.

This is one of six projects totaling to $13.2 million in Jones County, ranging from bridge replacements to road resurfacing.

While many of these are to enhance safety, Chairman of the County Board of Commission Chris Weidner, says these projects will also bring economic development to the county.

At the moment, since there is not a T-SPLOST in place, local cities and counties are getting help from GDOT when it comes to funding local projects. But those cities and counties are having to match 30% of the cost of the cost to help transportation projects move along. But with a T-SPLOST in place, local governments would only have to make 10-percent of the cost of the project and keep that extra funding for other projects in their respective cities according to Laura Mathis of Middle Georgia Regional Commission.

Voters can make their decision on May 22nd.

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