Three Georgia regions voted in favor of the additional one percent sales tax for transportation infrastructure on Tuesday — the Central Savannah River Area District around Augusta, the River Valley District including Columbus, and the Heart of Georgia Altamaha District in south central Georgia.
I was not surprised that the measure passed in the first two of those, but I was surprised that the conservative voters of the Heart of Georgia district opted for it.
From the AJC’s Why 3 Georgia regions voted for T-SPLOST:
The main thread connecting the T-SPLOST winners: All roads are local. Supporters hammered home how this dirt road would be paved or that potholed street would be resurfaced. Large dollops of the new money from the 10-year, 1 percent sales tax will be spent on road projects selected by city and county officials â€” a bigger local say-so than proposed for metro Atlanta.
Opposition to the sales tax, too, was relatively muted across the Augusta, Columbus and east-central Georgia regions, according to local officials. Tea party, anti-government fervor was low-key, as was the anger of the NAACP that prevailed across metro Atlanta.
In rural South Georgia, you’re more likely to know, and trust, your local official. And, unlike the urban-suburban tussle that bedevils metro Atlanta, rural Georgians appreciate the economic and social benefits that neighboring towns afford.
From Governor Deal’s press release on Wednesday:
The referendum passed in three regions, and I think those regions will see great returns on their investment. Under the law, these regions will also receive a 90 percent match for local transportation projects, meaning they will only have to put up 10 percent from local funds. The law requires a 70-30 split in the regions that didnâ€™t pass it.
I’m not sure there will be “great returns” but there will be good returns at minimum, if the project lists are as strong as various media have indicated.