T-SPLOST list swells by millions

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.

Region wrestles with transportation priorities
Panel strips resurfacing projects from Augusta T-SPLOST list
Tax funds list being tweaked
T-SPLOST vote may move
Tax-funded transportation projects under review

More

Savannah River Site resumes normal activity

A suspicious item was discovered Wednesday afternoon at the Savannah River National Laboratory which prompted emergency responseactivities.

... Read more