Fixing the road to Tybee: where’s the money?

I just wanted to suggest that readers who have safety concerns about Highway 80 — the road to Tybee — should check out a new article by Jeremy Scheinbart in Connect Savannah: Fixing Highway 80; Plans abound, but funding is no day at the beach

It’s a great exploration of the road’s lousy safety record and statistically high death rate, and it does an even better job of discussing the challenges regarding funding the most likely fixes, which would primarily involve rebuilding the Bull River and Lazaretto Creek bridges so that they have safe shoulders.

But I have to note that the piece leaves out the sort of critical info that in 2012 area residents soundly rejected an additional 1 percent sales tax that would have funded infrastructure projects. It would have covered all or part of the needed improvements on Highway 80, which by law would have had to be completed since they were on the final project list.

I know people had lots of reasons for opposing T-SPLOST. I’ve been puzzled since that vote, however, that one simple calculation didn’t carry more weight with voters: If we improve those bridges and address a few other safety issues, it’s almost certain that fewer people will die on the road to Tybee.

The optimistic scenario cited in the piece suggests that substantive work on these safety issues could begin in 2018 or 2019. Given the simple reality of transportation funding in the state, don’t count on that.

Of possible interest: my August 2012 column TSPLOST fallout: Sometimes the money just isn’t there, detailing the near-certainty that the bulk of Georgia’s limited transportation budget would go to the Atlanta metro area, and my post here at the same time: A few final thoughts on T-SPLOST