A 13-county region encompassing the Augusta metro area collected nearly $4 million in January for tax-funded transportation projects.
The first month’s collection of the transportation special purpose local option sales tax netted $3.97 million. Richmond County contributed $2.13 million toward the total, according to the Georgia Department of Revenue. Burke and Columbia counties collected $260,938 and $997,513, respectively.
Local governments will receive 25 percent of the January revenues on March 1 to use for small, discretionary projects such as pot holes, road resurfacing, drainage problems and everyday maintenance. A complex formula based on the miles of paved roads in a county will determine each municipality’s share of the funding.
The remaining 75 percent is reserved for a list of voter-approved projects. In July, the Augusta region was one of three in the state that approved the transportation tax.
“The 75 percent is held in trust for the region until a project is completed,” said Susan Hart Ridley, of the Georgia State Financing and Investment Commission.
The commission receives monthly tax collections from the state revenue department and is responsible for reimbursing Georgia Department of Transportation for the cost of projects, Hart Ridley said.
Augusta Traffic Engineer Steve Cassell said his department will collect at least six months of revenue before starting any construction.
Projected revenue for the Augusta region in 2013 was $69.6 million. A monthly estimate of the discretionary share was $318,000 for Richmond County, not including unincorporated Blythe and Hephzibah.
Ridley said the exact amount won’t be calculated until the financing commission gets money from the revenue department.