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T-SPLOST list swells by millions

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It's nearly back to the drawing board for the Central Savannah River Area Regional Transportation Roundtable's executive committee.

Asked last week to revisit their transportation priorities, the district's 13 counties spoke, today adding back to their wish lists dozens of road and bridge projects.

The revised list exceeds by as much as $180 million the estimated $630 million in revenue for projects that would be available if voters approve the 10-year tax next year.

"They think that we're just going to give them the farm," said Augusta Commissioner Joe Jackson, who represents the consolidated city on the committee.

While several of the district's rural counties did return costly projects to their lists, Augusta re-added a dozen projects to a list that last week was down to 49 items.

Several of Augusta's additions were road and bridge projects either initially absent or rejected when the counties sent their entire wish lists to Georgia Department of Transportation for a preliminary vetting earlier this year.

Added to the list are reconstruction of James Brown Boulevard; repair or replacement of bridges over Augusta Canal at Seventh, 11th and 15th streets; and restoration of the Fifth Street bridge.

"I'm going to look out for Augusta-Richmond County," Jackson explained.

Burke County, whose total project list last week had been docked to just $4.8 million, returned today with all four phases of a Highway 56 widening project, bringing its total to $77 million.

Columbia County, which appeared last week to have its list finalized to seven projects, returned today with one addition, the widening of State Route 388 in Grovetown.

Detailed in the Transportation Investment Act of 2010 approved by the Georgia legislature last year, the process allows for the project list to evolve, but the committee has only until August 15 to finalize a list of projects to present in two public hearings.

Attending today's meeting, GDOT Planning Director Todd Long said while he'd initially believed road resurfacing projects weren't "going to sell" with voters, in talking with other states about their implementation of a sales tax for transportation he'd decided that some were. In more rural counties, the roads targeted ought to be "significant roadways," he said.

The group returns to work at 9 a.m. Tuesday at the new Thomson-McDuffie government complex.

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tckr1983 07/14/11 - 08:04 pm
Take me out to the ballgame?

Take me out to the ballgame? Anyone? Bueller?

Little Lamb
Little Lamb 07/14/11 - 10:01 pm
Joe Jackson needs to take the

Joe Jackson needs to take the re-surfacing projects off the list. This boondoggle referendum is for new projects, expansions, and bridge replacements. Re-surfacing needs to be done locally, not regionally. If all Augusta puts on this list are re-surfacing projects, then the referendum will fail. As it should.

Craig Spinks
Craig Spinks 07/15/11 - 01:01 am
What about funding

What about funding transportation venues for non-motorized traffic? Sidewalks to schools and shopping centers? Bike paths? Greenways?

How about funding for suburban-urban center/urban center-urban center bus services?

How many more roads will be needed in 10 years when gasoline will be selling for twice its current price?

DuhJudge 07/15/11 - 06:54 am
Give them the money, and they

Give them the money, and they will spend it. The concept of regionalizing the tax increase is because the legislature currently does not have much of a say in the business of building roads. It is the domain of the DOT which is funded by your gas tax. This tax puts politics into those decisions. If they sell this tax and you vote for it....then you deserve what you get.

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