Hart and Franklin County Officials React to TSPLOST Being Voted Down

August 16, 2012

Governor Nathan Deal is going back to square one to find a way to pay for the many state road projects around Georgia now that voters have said no to the proposed statewide one-cent transportation sales tax also known as the TSPLOST.

Had it passed, TSPLOST would have provided all counties in Georgia with some revenue for local road improvements and projects.

Franklin County Manager Billy Morse said the loss of that much hoped-for revenue stream means the county must take a bigger bite out of its own resources to pay for road projects.

He said the county will now have to come up with a 30% match to any DOT grant funding they receive as opposed to the 10% that would have been required had TSPLOST passed.

“The one good thing for Franklin County is that we do have SPLOST monies available so we will be able to match those DOT monies, but it does make the cost of doing road work more expensive.”

Hart County voters also said no to TSPLOST even though they stood to receive $1.7 million a year in tax revenue from the statewide penny sales tax.

But County administrator Jon Caime said yesterday, they were never really counting on that money to begin with, even though they could have used it to solve some major road issues.

“The State was the one that came up with this (TSPLOST),” he said. “It wasn’t an initiative by local taxpayers who said ‘we want to pay this additional penny sales tax to improve our roads.’ Could we have used the money and put it to good use? Absolutely. We’re underfunded on roads.”

Had the TSPLOST passed, Hart County’s local sales tax would have risen to 8%.

Hart County sits on the Georgia/South Carolina state line and already struggles with ways to keep consumers shopping at home rather going over the state line to Seneca and Anderson where the sales tax is lower.

Last week, Governor Deal said he would work with state transportation officials and legislators to come up with a new plan to solve the state’s road and infrastructure issues.

By MJ Kneiser, WLHR Radio, Lavonia