TSPLOST vote leads 54 to 46 percent with results needed from nine precincts

The vote on a 1 percent sales tax to fund transportation projects in a 13-county region around Augusta was leading 54 to 46 percent with results still needed for nine precincts in three counties.

T-SPLOST VOTE:

Yes: 44,638

No: 39,248

County Yes No
Burke 2,918 1,812
Columbia 10,340 14,358
Glascock 429 465
Hancock 1,228 646
Jefferson 2,651 1,830
Jenkins 1,520 805
Lincoln 1,526 1,224
McDuffie 2,556 1,997
Richmond 20,586 14,713
Taliaferro 434 248
Warren 910 535
Washington 3,084 2,605
Wilkes 1,070 1,048

Slideshow: Election Day in Augusta

Video: Scott Peebles | Wright McLeod | Brian Kemp

Votes: Richmond Co. | Columbia Co. | Ga.

Counties including Burke, Jenkins, McDuffie, Richmond, Taliaferro, Washington and Wilkes passed the measure, commonly called TSPLOST. It was rejected in Columbia, Glascock and Lincoln counties. Early today, votes were not final for Hancock, Jefferson and Warren counties.

If approved, revenue totaling $841 million will fund a list of projects including roads, bridges, airports and public transit that were compiled by county leaders. All projects must be completed during the 10-year collection period.

In 2010, the Georgia Legislature passed the Transportation Investment Act allowing voters to decide the issue. Throughout an aggressive campaign for the tax, its supporters said transportation investment is crucial for future economic growth.

Phil Wahl, chairman of the Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce’s TSPLOST Committee, said the vote puts Augusta at an economic advantage, noting that a majority of other Georgia regions did not appear likely to support the tax.

“We get funding for those projects that have already been identified to improve transportation and increase connectivity in our region,” Wahl said.

Augusta voter Richard Schultz said he voted in favor of the tax because of the economic promises.

“Just look at the roads in this state and this county. (TSPLOST will) put people to work who need it. Hire them and make these roads better,” Schultz said.

Opponents, however, called the tax a historic mistake that will hurt a cash-strapped economy.

“It’s more tax coming out of the economy and it’s less money the consumer will have available,” said Al Gray, a Columbia County activist.

Collections will begin in January, if approved. The Georgia Department of Transportation will be mostly responsible for project delivery.

Connect Georgia, an entity created by the Georgia Chamber of Commerce to promote the referendum, estimated that 22,700 jobs will be created in Augusta’s region through the TSPLOST effort.

REGION 7 TSPLOST:

Yes - 54 percent

No - 46 percent

Richmond County

Yes 58.3 percent

No 41.7 percent

Columbia County

Yes 41.9 percent

No 58.1 percent

THREE MOST COSTLY RICHMOND COUNTY PROJECTS

Windsor Spring Road, $25.3 million ($4 million from tax): Widen from two to four lanes, from Tobacco Road to Willis Foreman Road; first phase starts in 2013

Broad Street, $25 million ($25 million from tax): Resurface and reconstruct from Washington Road to Sand Bar Ferry Road, scheduled to begin in 2016

Wrightsboro Road, $21.5 million ($2 million from tax): Widen from Jimmie Dyess Parkway to Interstate 520, scheduled to start in 2013

THREE MOST COSTLY COLUMBIA COUNTY PROJECTS

Furys Ferry Road, $50.2 million ($50.2 million from tax): Widen from South Carolina state line to Evans to Locks Road; scheduled to begin in 2016

Old Petersburg, Old Evans roads, $30.7 million ($20 million from tax): Widen both roads from Baston to Washington roads, starting in 2016

Horizon South Parkway, $26.2 million ($26.2 million from tax): Widen from Wrightsboro Road to Interstate 20; scheduled to begin in 2019

Comments (41) Add comment
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allhans
23203
Points
allhans 08/01/12 - 08:13 am
6
1
Of course they do. They are

Of course many voted yes. They are misguided and see it as more government money for them.

Riverman1
79152
Points
Riverman1 08/01/12 - 12:58 am
8
1
$840 a Year for Average Family

Every family will pay on average $840 a year and $8400 over the ten years of the tax. Of course we all know the tax won't go away. This is taking a lot of money out of the private sector. Our capitalistic society is attacked nationally and right here in the CSRA.

nocnoc
38237
Points
nocnoc 08/01/12 - 07:16 am
6
1
GA REJECTS TSPLOST - But Richmond Co. Voted Yes?

It will take me awhile to understand why Richmond Co. Voters voted FOR an additional tax increase that would have mainly supported Atlanta. But Atlanta who stood to benefit the most voted it down. When you have Electronic Voting Machines and no Paper trail, who knows or can be sure what the vote was?

* North Ga - Metro-Atlanta - Macon between voted NO

* Savannah to Albany voted NO

According to the latest results map. Out of 12 GA DOT regions only Regions 7, 8 & 9, Augusta to Columbus narrowly voted Yes?

http://www.ajc.com/news/tsplost-results-map-1488500.html?src=cb_article

Techfan
6461
Points
Techfan 08/01/12 - 07:04 am
3
3
I think only 3 of the regions

I think only 3 of the regions voted yes. Now maybe folks will stop worrying and complaining about federal taxes now that state/local taxes take up 14% of your paycheck if you earn over $7k filing single or $10k filing jointly (never quite figured out why it wasn't $14k filing jointly).

Dixieman
12824
Points
Dixieman 08/01/12 - 07:04 am
8
0
So what happens?

Since only 3 of the 12 "regions" voted for this ugly thing, does it take effect in our region or does it fail statewide? No one seems to have a clear answer for those of us in the stupid regions (at least Columbia County rejected!!)

Hambone
8
Points
Hambone 08/01/12 - 07:14 am
4
12
Nocnoc and Dixieman, did you

Nocnoc and Dixieman, did you actually do any research or due diligence before voting, much less posting online?

The bill was a regional bill. It passed in the CSRA and 2 other areas, but failed in the rest of the state.

In the areas it passed there will be a 1% sales tax increase to fund transportation projects for the next 10 years. This will be a great investment in the 3 areas it passed and will allow us to become much more attractive to business development compared to other areas in the state, and other states as well.

People, before spouting off ignorant rhetoric, and especially prior to performing your American duty to vote, please educate yourself on the issues and vote intelligently.

nocnoc
38237
Points
nocnoc 08/01/12 - 07:50 am
10
1
Hambone Comments

It boils down to
People need to understand any tax increase that cares and feeds the Government, reduces the same amount in kind of taxpayers purchasing power for their families food, clothing, med's and things.

I look at it as the Government just took another 1% of my families lives on top of the 25 to 45% they collectively already take.

Regarding " ignorant rhetoric" comment.
I am guilty in some ways Yes, and in others No

But the discussion of Future taxes BEFORE voting on them is an American Duty. Rubber stamping a Tax increase, just because government has good media spin and wants it is not something I will ever do.

I voted NO and roughly 45.5%. of region 7 Voted No.

Note: I did give your comment an UP vote... Because discussion is important and sometimes right or wrong it makes people think and self evaluate. But may I suggest easing up on the name calling remarks? We are having an open discussion NOT an internet flame session.

palmetto1008
9782
Points
palmetto1008 08/01/12 - 07:38 am
1
8
Hambone
Unpublished

Hambone, it is apparent that you are new here since this is your first post. The spouting of ignorant rhetoric is what drives these threads.

dichotomy
30388
Points
dichotomy 08/01/12 - 07:40 am
11
1
Hambone.....I did educate

Hambone.....I did educate myself. DID YOU? Did you read the last 4 state auditos' reports that found the GA DOT has mismanaged the STATE GASOLINE TAX money we already give them for "dedicated transportation projects". Do you really think that we should be paying 8% sales tax and 6% state income tax when some of our neighboring states seem to do fine with only a 7% to 9.5% sales tax and NO state income tax? Do you really think that taking ANOTHER $840 dollars a year from the average family is going to help the local economy? I DID educate myself but you and me must have gone to different schools together.

dichotomy
30388
Points
dichotomy 08/01/12 - 07:46 am
12
1
There is a reason why RC and

There is a reason why RC and some of the other "poor" counties voted in favor of TSPLOST and it has something to do with not being the brightest bulbs on the tree. You will note that other regions with a more educated voter base slammed the door on this issue.

southern2
5288
Points
southern2 08/01/12 - 07:47 am
4
0
What happens to the Fed &

What happens to the Fed & State road taxes we have already paid? Since our region has voted to pay for something that is already funded, this will give the politicos a brand new bone to throw at us while the original funding will be used in other regions. Obviously, our region is oversaturated with those who are not already tax laden.

gmt
79
Points
gmt 08/01/12 - 08:13 am
2
0
Riverman1 $840?

I am not for any tax increase but where does the $840 per year for the average family come from? Seems to me they would have to spend $84,000 at one percent to equal $840. Just curious.

RogueKnight
210
Points
RogueKnight 08/01/12 - 08:15 am
6
0
Not happy about this

I work in the highway construction industry and I voted no, as did the majority of my Columbia County neighbors. What it boiled down to for me was the fact that we are already paying taxes for roadway improvements at the gas pump. They can spin it any way they want, but this is not a 1% tax increase, it's a 14% tax increase, because that is exactly how much more sales tax you will now pay on purchased goods. My income hasn't gone up in three years. I can't stand any more tax at this point.

dichotomy
30388
Points
dichotomy 08/01/12 - 08:37 am
5
1
It ain't a penny.

"where does the $840 per year"

!% on a new Escalade and a couple of 52" flat screens. Isn't that about right for RC residents?

bdouglas
4411
Points
bdouglas 08/01/12 - 08:39 am
1
0
I'm with 'gmt' on this one.

I'm with 'gmt' on this one. Where did anybody come up with $840 impact for the 'average family'? The median *family* income for Richmond Co is around $53K, while Columbia Co is $73K...and $58K for our Metropolitan Statistical Area. Net income from there would be more like $38K to $50K taken home. So to project that this will cost families $840/yr means they'd be spending nearly double what they're actually taking home. Not seeing how that's possible...

Riverman1
79152
Points
Riverman1 08/01/12 - 08:50 am
4
1
GMT, working with round

GMT, working with round numbers here, let me go through it. I think it's actually a little higher. But it's an $840 million tax over ten years for the district or $84 million a year by state estimate. The district has a population of roughly 400,000 with 100,000 familes. Divide the 840 million a year by 100,000 families and that's $840 a year or $8400 over ten years. That's a lot of money to take away from a family.

So we are going to be using the gas tax like the other counties to pay for roads, plus get this added tax with the accompanying construction. That's a lot of money to take out of the private sector.

Riverman1
79152
Points
Riverman1 08/01/12 - 08:49 am
3
0
GMT and BD, oh sure some

GMT and BD, oh sure some families will spend lots more, some less. This is the average.

resident
470
Points
resident 08/01/12 - 09:02 am
3
0
UNBELIEVEABLE!!!!!!

Thats all I can say for this. I guess people do not see the fact that we are being extorted out of yet another 1% of our income on BASICALLY EVERYTHING!!! We already pay at the pump and they seem to not know how to manage the money already given to them to include the out of town visitors that come here and buy fuel, aircraft fuels. I would like to see a real list of this money. Widening Furry's Ferry is just ridiculous since it drops down to 2 lanes as soon as you get to the line. seems to me their words of well this is for safety is bogus. Just like some of the RC listed items that are CITY RESPONSIBILITY not state. The state did not say lets put this road here the CITY DID so why should we have to pay for their inability to manage their own budgets? This was crooked from the start to say regional because now they can take more of the gas dollars and funnel them to Atlanta.

Riverman1
79152
Points
Riverman1 08/01/12 - 09:02 am
4
0
If government created jobs are good...

So the proponents say they are creating 22,700 jobs. If government projects creating jobs, taking money from the private sector is such a good thing, why not have the people just use shovels to build the roads instead of bulldozers? Maybe just use spoons and hire even more people? (Thank you, Milton Friedman)

Hambone
8
Points
Hambone 08/01/12 - 09:29 am
0
8
The best thing about this tax

The best thing about this tax is it takes the money (and subsequently the power) away from Atlanta and GDOT and gives it to a local board.

Think of all the people from out of town who drive through the CSRA or visit the Masters and stay at hotels, eat lunch or dinner. They are the ones who are going to be helping us pay for this. And they don't even live here!

idrive
12
Points
idrive 08/01/12 - 09:39 am
0
3
Yes for CSRA

Riverman I too question your math. $840 per year on a 1% sales tax increase. The median household income in Georgia is about $44K and even richey rich Columbia county is at $71K. If people spent every dime they made in the entire household it couldn't get to your number. The average is predicted to be around $140 to $150. The DOT spokesman you surely heard at the town hall meetings stated he has a family of 6 and his cost would be around $340.

Why do you keep ignoring the fact that every person that comes to the CSRA will pay for our roads. You fantasize that only those who live here will pay. The Masters, boat races, sporting events, fishing tournaments bring well north of $100M into the CSRA economy every year. I would much rather use OPM (other peoples money).
Everyone wants immediate gratification these days and refuse to invest in their future. By nature government will never be trusted by most people. They never have in history. Can we untag ourself and move back to the stone ages. Thank goodness people many years ago invested in their future that i am enjoying today.
Only the first $5000 of the Escalade will be taxed according to the law you didn't read. The 52" flat screens go for a $2K maybe. You are up to $70 for these non annual special purchases. Crazy math.
Those that don't like it can drive to South Carolina , on terrible roads i might add, spend about $15 in fuel and save a few bucks on your purchases.
I ramble. At this point it is water under the bridge. I'll give my 1% gladly and enjoy the roads. I may develop a little self control and not spend my entire household income and save a little for my future.

Insider Information
4009
Points
Insider Information 08/01/12 - 09:37 am
5
0
Woohoo! Higher gas prices!

Woohoo!

Higher gas prices. Just what I always wanted. The gas tax wasn't putting enough money into politicians' pockets, so let's add another tax to gas and everything else while we are at it.

Insider Information
4009
Points
Insider Information 08/01/12 - 09:41 am
6
0
Clarifications

1) TSPLOST does NOT take money from Atlanta and put into a local board's control. It takes our money and puts it in the control of politicians.

2) Taxing is not investing. It is redistributing wealth.

3) The fact that visitors pay the tax has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that we have to pay it every day we live here.

4) Car dealerships are going to take a major hit in the CSRA

Kyle1
6
Points
Kyle1 08/01/12 - 09:52 am
4
0
Need Some Clarification Please

How can a group of counties voting yes lead to Columbia County having to pay this tax when they voted no. Outside of a statewide vote that applies to all in the state, I thought that counties were autonomous. Any insight into the matter is much appreciated. I realize there are projects that relate to Columbia County but it seems that those would simply be scratched.

Riverman1
79152
Points
Riverman1 08/01/12 - 10:37 am
0
0
Idrive

Idrive, there is no disputing the math of $841 million projected by the state as being the taxed amount nor the population of the district.

Now you are absolutely correct in saying visitors pay, but that's apples and oranges. Our people also travel and pay in other places. I suspect it pretty much evens out with residents out of the district and visitors here.

Let me say it a little differently. If a family of four stayed here year round they would on average be paying $840 a year more in taxes. This is money coming out of the private sector. There is no free lunch. If visitors come part of the year, they are paying at the same rate, but they are offset by our citizens who leave to go other places.

Riverman1
79152
Points
Riverman1 08/01/12 - 10:38 am
4
0
Maybe we should just have a

Maybe we should just have a one dollar tax one week a year? After all it's only on visitors...right? We could all leave town and go to a district that doesn't have the tax and come out ahead....right? Heh.

Dixieman
12824
Points
Dixieman 08/01/12 - 10:37 am
2
0
Yeah, all those Masters visitors...

Now what is going to happen to us is that all State and Federal money we would otherwise have gotten will be diverted to the intelligent regions that voted "no" on the ground that we don't need the money as we have all that revenue from our 1% TSPLOST. Can our legislative delegation in Atlanta please enact a new law cancelling the whole TSPOLOST idea? That would void our local stupidity, which is fine with me.
Hambone - All I needed to know about this thing was that it was an extra tax, taking money out of the private sector and handing it over to politicians to play with.

wondersnevercease
9216
Points
wondersnevercease 08/01/12 - 10:54 am
1
0
WOW
Unpublished

Boy I am sooo glad I live across the river...and never spend money in Augusta...yous guys is screwed by the ignorant And the Greedy.

nocnoc
38237
Points
nocnoc 08/01/12 - 11:19 am
3
0
GA Transportation PLAN B already in the works

If media blitz for votes, then tax and spend doesn't work then use Plan B.

Quoting an article in the AJC newspaper: ".... What voters dismissed was a bottom-up list of $8 billion in road and rail projects created by local elected leaders. ...

Plan B ...will be its polar opposite: Dramatically smaller, paid for with shrinking funds, and highly centralized. Projects will be hand-picked by a governor who intends to squeeze every penny available.

WOW! Squeeze every penny available of existing funds... and no new taxes. When did politicians learn this new trick?

Too bad for our area, TSPLOST passed.
So where does that leave us?

For the full article see:
http://blogs.ajc.com/political-insider-jim-galloway/2012/07/31/nathan-de...

idrive
12
Points
idrive 08/01/12 - 11:19 am
0
2
private sector

Since when has the private sector built a road, fixed a pothole or resurfaced a road? It is politicians and State employees who make the decisions for the greater good. Some decisions are good, some not so much. Travel outside of Georgia and you will get immediate feedback from the seat of your pants. Most roads outside the state stink.

The private sector and residents WILL continue to come here and congestion will be so thick we can't move and we die on the vine. Roads must be improved and it can only be done with some form of taxation. I prefer a local tax versus a State tax because our local politicians and government employees know what we need. I worry every time i travel I-20 to Lewiston Road and set in the emergency lane or in the travel lane to exit the interstate because of the congestion. Growth squeezes us all. The current fuel tax structure sends all the money to Atlanta where the vast majority of Georgia's population resides and they make the decision. Is TSPLOST perfect, no. But great projects have been identified and will be built. I am happy with that. It is our jobs at voters to hold them personally accountable.

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