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.

Meg Mirshak
Staff Writer
Twitter: @megmirshak
E-mail | 706-823-3228

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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Riverman1
114127
Points
Riverman1 08/01/12 - 11:56 am
1
0
Idrive, Exactly Who Will You Hold Accountable?

Since the regional commission will not be elected, exactly who are you going to hold accountable?

Insider Information
4009
Points
Insider Information 08/01/12 - 12:51 pm
3
0
You can't be serious.

@idrive... Local politicians know what we need?

Um, have you checked out the monstrosity of a parking deck downtown lately?

Maybe our brilliant local politicians will build roads like they build parking decks - on land someone else owns. Haha. What a joke.

David Parker
7925
Points
David Parker 08/01/12 - 12:39 pm
1
0
Kyle1 askes,

"How can a group of counties voting yes lead to Columbia County having to pay this tax when they voted no."

collectivism. the same principle used to define socialism and communism.

countyman
23063
Points
countyman 08/01/12 - 12:57 pm
0
3
In terms of wealth Richmond

In terms of wealth Richmond County is ranked third among the largest cities in Georgia.. Ranked ahead of Muscogee(Columbus), Clarke(Athens), Bibb(Macon), etc.. Fulton County(Atlanta) is the most wealthy and Chatham(Savannah) is slightly ahead of Augusta..

Without TSPLOST there's no reason to think GA DOT could break ground on several projects anytime soon.. They can't even managed to cut the grass along the interstates...

The vote would have passed in Atlanta, but it didn't include many rail projects... The voters of metro Atlanta realized their beyond new roads and widening...

countyman
23063
Points
countyman 08/01/12 - 01:59 pm
0
2
Another thing to keep in mind

Another thing to keep in mind is both Columbus (Fort Benning/BRAC) and Augusta(Plant Vogtle/MOX/NSA/Starbucks/Bridgestone/Rockwood) have major growth the residents can already see in progress..

Little Lamb
54059
Points
Little Lamb 08/01/12 - 02:52 pm
2
0
Regional

Sorry to break it to you, Kyle, but the law that led to this tax created a new level of government in Georgia — Transportation Regional Government. It has rulers, but they are appointed, not elected.

And southern2 had a good comment back on the first page — basically that we suckers who passed this regional sales tax for road widening (and bus system operation & maintenance in Augusta) will see more and more of the per-gallon gasoline tax diverted to the regions who defeated this sales tax referendum. It's all a part of the "greater good" theory.

dichotomy
44029
Points
dichotomy 08/01/12 - 10:10 pm
3
0
I am trying to understand how

I am trying to understand how this thing got passed in Richmond County. If the analysis I just read is correct, the majority black districts voted for this thing and the majority white disctricts narrowly voted against this. Now I am curious to know why the black citizens of this county would vote to tax themselves at a higher rate....especially when RC is a DONOR county in this mess so we just voted to give our neighboring counties $63 million dollars of RC taxpayer's money. And I really feel sorry for Columbia County residents who had the good sense to vote against this thing but will now be forcibly taxed. And Columbia County is a DONOR county also, so $23 million of their tax dollars will also go to surrounding counties.

But my real question is, why would the black citizens of this county be so anxious to pay MORE taxes and send our tax money to surrounding counties? Is this an indication of their attitude on more taxation or is this an indication that they did not understand the issue? And why weren't RC citizens smart enough to see through this money grabbing TAX grab like 3/4s of the rest of the state were able do? Did the majority black districts in Augusta realize that we are a DONOR county?

Now, my comments are based on an analysis I just read on another blog so if this information is not correct, I apologize in advance. But IF it is correct about the black districts being the districts that are the primary reason for this atrosity passing in Richmond County I am just curious as to the reason they would vote for this thing knowing that we are a DONOR county sending our "penny" to our surrounding counties. And what is it that they did not see that 3/4s of the rest of the state did see and rejected soundly......and WHY didn't they see it. Were they misled by their leadership? Or did each one of them individually decide that they wanted to pay more taxes and send a big chunk of their money to other counties? Do they now realize that WE will be taking $millions of dollars out of OUR economy, some of which will go to other counties, while 3/4s of the state will be keeping their money in their pockets and in their economy and SPENDING OUR GASOLINE TAX DOLLARS ON THEIR ROADS.

WAY TO GO RICHMOND COUNTY. If there is a stupid way to go you will certainly find it. And to Columbia County, I hope you can find some good lawyers that will blow this whole TSPLOST thing, and all of the UNELECTED REGIONAL COMMISSIONERS, out of the water.....or at least get you off of the hook from having to pay this tax.

bubbasauce
35136
Points
bubbasauce 08/01/12 - 06:20 pm
2
0
I keep coming back to this

I keep coming back to this article hoping that I was seeing things.I guess I'm not. I am still in shock that people in Richmond Co. passed this tax on themselves, but the economy is great here, right?

idrive
12
Points
idrive 08/01/12 - 09:31 pm
2
0
Educated

Actually, Augusta is the economic bright spot of Georgia. Albeit slow, it has growth and most other parts of Ga are declining.

@Dichotomy......http://www2.wjbf.com/news/2012/jul/23/1/t-splost-voters-divided-50943-vi-137849/

Not sure if this link will work, if not search for it. The Augusta NAACP had an education session for its members with two apparent experts on both sides of the issue.

Every vote carries the same weight. Those that know what they want, will come out and vote. Apathy never won an election. 32.61% turn out in Columbia County, 35.2% for Richmond and congratulations to Jenkins county with 53.14%. Tens of thousands of votes never casted because it is easier for others to worry about it. Two town hall meetings in Columbia County with the opportunity for thousands to come here the debate and less than 150 people show up in total for both.

Shellman
623
Points
Shellman 08/01/12 - 09:12 pm
1
0
Dichotomy..
Unpublished

what you read on the other blog is 100% true. Richmond and Columbia counties are donor counties. Richmond gives up $63 million of its sales tax revenues over the next 10 years to the 11 other rural counties. Columbia County gives up $23 million over the same time period.

Richmond and Columbia counties would have been better off passing a traditional county-wide splost to fund road improvements.. that way they would keep 100% of the revenues and they could decide how the money would be spent. That's not what this was. Now they will give away a total of $86 million of their sales tax revenues combined... and cede control to an unelected "commission".

I have no explanation as to why Richmond County voted so heavily in favor of this turkey other than they were very misinformed on what they were voting on. Atleast voters in Columbia County had the common sense to reject this travesty. And yes, in Richmond County T-splost passed heavily in the majority black precincts.. in some as high as 80%! West Richmond County and South Richmond County were less receptive though even in those areas it was only narrowly defeated. Why RC voters, especially poor minority voters, voted for this thing is just inexplicable.

Shellman
623
Points
Shellman 08/01/12 - 09:19 pm
1
0
It's understandable
Unpublished

I can see why 9 of the rural counties would vote for this (Lincoln and Glascock had the common sense to vote no though). You see they were being bribed to vote yes by that $86 million they would be getting over 10 years.. the problem is for those rural counties, most of their projects would be delayed until the last 3 years of T-splost and they are bound to the DOT and their incompetence to to get them completed. The problem here is that the revenue projections are so far off that the money will likely run out before any asphalt is laid in the rural counties.

Tots
26539
Points
Tots 08/01/12 - 09:26 pm
1
0
No explanation ,

I've been hearing some in Richmond county saying it's one way to stick it to the property owners.... I've been like>> Do what? But you would have to understand their mentality....

Shellman
623
Points
Shellman 08/01/12 - 09:33 pm
1
0
Property Owners??
Unpublished

This is paid by anyone who buys anything at a store.. It actually affects the poor the most.. because the cost of essentials go up. But I have learned to never underestimate the stupidity of Richmond County voters. I mean, look at the people they put on the commission.

galaxygrl
1444
Points
galaxygrl 08/01/12 - 09:49 pm
2
0
1% Tax

Taxation without representation was one of the reasons people came from England. The person that posted about taking the power out of Atlanta should also note that that region voted against it because it has no real value. More wasted money, more arguments over how it should be spent and for once I agree with Riverman! Did you know there is a scam going on right now that Georgia Power has been telling people about. People promise that the President has a plan to pay their power bills and all they need is your social security number. Call Ga. Power's 800 number and listen for yourself. People think the government can take care of everything. Have you seen the shove ready project off the Harlem-Appling exit. They are widening the road to a four lane from I-20 to Appling. Really?

star
650
Points
star 08/03/12 - 10:01 pm
1
0
Explain how points

Please explain how points are determined for comments...some seem to deserve high points and they get just a few. Thank you.

batya
301
Points
batya 08/08/12 - 04:17 pm
0
0
@Kyle1

Because it's a majority rules of the 13 county region. Only 3 out of the 13 voted no. It's not separated by county in its implementation.

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