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State officials assure Augusta business leaders of transportation tax

Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013 6:30 PM
Last updated Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013 2:05 AM
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ATLANTA — State leaders meeting with members of the Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce during Tuesday’s visit to the Capitol all got the same question: How is the transportation tax going?

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Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal answers questions from members of the Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce who spent the day Tuesday at the Capitol meeting with state leaders. \n  WALTER JONES/MORRIS NEWS SERVICE
Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal answers questions from members of the Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce who spent the day Tuesday at the Capitol meeting with state leaders. \n

They all gave a positive response, starting with Gov. Nathan Deal.

“I’ve made the pledge that I do not think that we should do anything that would send the wrong signal to those parts of our state, the regions that have adopted the TSPLOST,” he said, referring to the transportation special purpose local option sales tax.

He was talking about Senate Bill 73, by Sen. John Albers, R-Roswell, which would repeal the funding difference between regions – such as Augusta’s – that passed the tax in the July referendum and those that didn’t. Local governments in regions that passed the tax have to pay for only 10 percent of state projects, while those that didn’t must pony up 30 percent.

“Y’all have taken the initiative, and I’m going to make sure that you’re not disadvantaged because of that,” the governor said.

Don Grantham, a former Augusta Commission member who now serves on the state Transportation Board, told the group other communities are already wishing they had actually passed the tax themselves so they could have funding to correct their own roads.

“I don’t think we’re looking at any rescinding of any of the bills (that created the tax),” he said.

State Transportation Commissioner Keith Golden told the group that the pieces are in place to accelerate construction of the projects funded by the tax when collections become available March 1. Staffers are dedicated to the program, an outside firm is being contracted to watch the money and a citizen-review panel has been appointed to oversee everything, he said.

One project has already begun at Wrightsboro Road.

“The program is moving very rapidly. Implementation is moving very rapidly,” said Mike Dover, the Department of Transportation’s administrator of the sales tax projects. “… Me and the commissioner and our whole board understand the urgency to implement this program.”

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Dixieman 02/19/13 - 10:16 pm
3000000 POINTS

It is still a lousy deal. Richmond County dragged the rest of us into it because there are so many Obama voters there who think you can get something for nothing. Well, I'm doing a lot more shopping in North Augusta or on the Internet since the tax went from 7% to 8% and I think we will get NOTHING in return for our extra payments. Other counties in Georgia that did not vote for TSPLOST will still get their roads built and maintained without hitting themselves on the head with this hammer. Wish this thing could be repealed.

Riverman1 02/20/13 - 06:42 am
Well, good that they are not

Well, good that they are not trying to reneg on the deal, but the average family in the district will end up paying about $840 a year MORE in sales tax.

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