As mayor of Gainesville, I served on the District 2 roundtable and was a member of the five-person executive committee that selected the regional transportation projects to be voted on this month in the T-SPLOST Referendum. Because of the confusion and misinformation swirling around the T-SPLOST, I want to clarify some of the issues:
1. All of the money raised in our district stays in the district: NONE goes to Atlanta, DOT or anywhere else. Local decision makers determined local transportation needs and will receive 100 percent of the new revenues in our region to meet those needs.
2. By law, the sales tax will end in 10 years or less. If the projected sales tax is reached before the 10 years is up, the tax ends.
3. In addition to 75 percent of the new revenue going to the selected regional projects, 25 percent of the tax will come directly to the cities and counties with no strings attached to spend on local transportation improvements.
In Gainesville, we would use the money to build sidewalks along state routes within the city limits, do much needed intersection improvements, resurface many Gainesville city streets and make traffic calming improvements among other things.
4. Gainesville is a destination for the other counties in our district. Many of the regional projects are designated to connect these counties to Gainesville to access the Northeast Georgia Medical Center as well as restaurants, stores and physicians’ offices. Better roads into Gainesville will bring jobs and economic prosperity. A good portion of the sales tax collected locally will be from people outside of our county.
If we do not pass the T-SPLOST, many regional projects on the list will not be completed until 2025, 2030 or later, if at all. The referendum is about jobs, economic development, traffic improvements and safety. Our region and especially Hall County would benefit greatly from the passing of the T-SPLOST. We have a chance to take a big step in securing the economic future of Gainesville and Hall County.
mayor, city of Gainesville