[UPDATE] Georgia Voters To Decide... What Can An Extra Penny Do For You?

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Valdosta, Georgia- July 25, 2012

On Tuesday, Georgia voters will decide on the controversial one cent transportation sales tax and public figures all over are taking the chance to speak out on their stance.

The major issue driving people to the polls and dividing them is the TSPLOST Transportation tax. The TSPLOST Transportation Tax is a hot issue here in Georgia.. because it effects everybody.
Organizers say with an extra penny of sales tax--when you add all those pennies up over the next ten years-- that could be almost 20-billion dollars for the state. One side says it will ease your troubled commute. The other says the measure is so flawed it won't really help at all.

Campaigning efforts are out in full force. Signs are sprinkled on the sides of the roads. They're paid for by construction companies like the Scruggs company in Valdosta, that will be bidding on new projects if the tax passes. Valdosta's Mayor John Gayle has been speaking out on the issue.

He told me today why he says it's just what South Georgia needs:

" We're going to get more than we put in because of the fact that these surrounding counties contributed over fifty-percent of the sales tax money that comes in to Lowndes county. So there's no argument we're going to get more than we put in. "

Valdosta Mayor John Gayle says all those pennies can do a lot of good in the Azalea City. He speaks to us as a private citizen and not as mayor.

"I think it's a good thing. Valdosta's been the fastest growing city in the state now for 10 years. And we've got to keep up our roads and our streets. This is a way of taxing the people a fair tax that will provide us with the money we need to make the kinds of additions we need here in Valdosta."

But others disagree. Gretchen Quarterman at the Lowndes County Extension Office, says there are better ways to improve transportation:

"If we had a bus system or a train system or an upgrade to our airport... Those would be projects which would be beneficial to all people in our community and in fact the whole entire region."

Opponents of the tax criticize politicians for wanting to make a tough recession even tougher for financially struggling families, and they question if the chosen projects are really what this region needs.

Estimates show if TSPLOST passes it will cost the average voter $127 dollars per year. The tax lasts for ten years so that's 1,200 dollars out of pocket.

Says one Georgia voter, Christine Darnell: "I just feel at this time that our money can be spent on other projects and other things that are needed for our state."

Says another citizen: "There could be a lot of road improvements done. Pot holes and stuff like that. Different things like that. I think it could help the whole community a lot."

Now early voting has been very strong for a primary. As of last night nearly 3,900 have voted.

Valdosta, Georgia- July 24, 2012

The tax to improve Transportation in an already struggling system will soon be on the ballot for Georgia voters.

State leaders say Georgia is in the midst of a transportation funding crisis. Supporters of TSPLOST say an extra penny of sales tax can help fix that.

Campaigning is in full force for the controversial Transportation Sales Tax. But some don't plan to listen.

"Sales tax falls unfairly on the poor and middle class," said Gretchen Quarterman, who is running for Chair of the Lowndes County Commission. "So as a percentage of their income, poor people and middle class people will pay more. And that's just not fair."

The current chair says the Commission is not taking a stance. But we did talk to Valdosta Mayor John Gayle by phone.

"Valdosta is a growing city. And TSPLOST gives us the means to keep it on track. The entire region can benefit from improved transportation," said Mayor Gayle.

Each region will hold its own independent election, so there is no need to worry how a different region will vote. Residents will vote on this tax next Tuesday, July 31st.

According to the "Connect Georgia 2012" website, voting will be divided among 12 regions. Region 10 includes Thomasville. Region 11 includes Valdosta.

- - - Region 10 Project List - - -

Calhoun County
• Cordrays Pond Bridges – Maintenance
• Manry St. and Adkins Ave. Resurfacing

Colquitt County
• Ellenton-Omega Rd. (CR486) Bridge 071-01745F MP 6.69N
• Ellenton-Omega Rd. (CR486) Bridge 071-01745F MP 6.80N
• Ellenton-Omega Rd. (CR486) Bridge 071-01745F MP 7.05N
• Spence Field Airport-Runway 14/32 Extention and Improvements
• SR 133 Widening from South of SR 35/US 319 to North of Colquitt County Line
• SR 33/US 319 at SR 33 Intersection Improvement – Roundabout
• SR 37/CR 238 Intersection Improvements – Roundabout in Moultrie
• SR 37 Widening/Reconstruction West from SR 111 to City Limits

Decatur County
• CR 14 – Butler Ferry Rd. Resurfacing
• CR 208 – College Rd.
• CR 208/Whigham Dairy Rd. Widening/Reconstruction from SR 38 to SR 97
• CR 402 – Faceville/Attapulgus Rd.
• Commodore One Rail Extension
• Commodore Industrial Park Connectivity Route
• Bainbridge Public Transit and Ride Share Parking

Dougherty County
• Clark Ave Extension – Jefferson St. to Maple St.
• Ledo Rd. Widening
• Old Dawson Rd. 3 – Ln. Widening
• Southwest Georgia Regional Airport New Aviation Terminal and Hangar Improvements
• SR 133 Widening
• SR 520/Clark Ave Improvements
• Westover Blvd. Extension/Liberty Expressway Underpass

Early County
• SR 370 Shoulder Widening/Resurfacing

Grady County
• 4th St. NW/SW Improvements
• Cairo-Grady County Airport Runway Extension and Improvements
• S. Broad St. Resurface/ Curb & Gutter/ Sidewalk in Cairo
• SR 112 Bridge Replacement at Sapp Creek
• US Hwy. 84/SR 38 Sidewalk Improvements in Cairo
• Old Hwy. 179 North (Reclamation and Widening)
• 5th St./Hwy. 93 South Turn Lane

Lee County
• Forrester Pkwy. Improvements and Extension
• Kinchafoonee Creek Rd. Extension
• Main St. (SR 32) Sidewalk Facility
• SR 118 @ Muckaloochee Creek Bridge Replacement
• SR 195 Pedestrian/Bicycle Improvements
• SR 32 Relocation/Re-route
• Starkesville Ave. Improvements
• Westover Blvd. Extension

Mitchell County
• Branchville Rd. (CR 23 & 31) Pavement Widening and Resurfacing
• Grady-Thomas County Line Rd. Pavement Shoulder and Resurfacing Project
• Greenough Rd. (CR 275) Shoulder Pavement Widening and Resurfacing Project
• Old SR 3 Shoulder Widening and Resurfacing Project
• Whigham Rd. at Big Slough – Bridge Replacement
• Shoulder Widening and Reconstruction of Mid County Connector Road from US 19 to SR 112

Seminole County
• Runway Rehabilitation and Reopening at Donalsonville Municipal Airport
• Hwy. 91 South Shoulder Widening and Resurfacing (9 mi. approx)

Terrell County
• Dawson Pedestrian Safety Facilities
• Shoulder Pavement Widen on Warner Rd. (CR 178)
• Widen Callis Rd. Shoulder between SR 32 and SR 118

Thomas County
• County Line Rd. – Turn Lanes
• Egg and Butter Rd. – Bridge Replacements
• Jackson St. Sidewalk Improvements
• Remington Ave Widening and Multi-Use Path
• Stewart Rd. Intersection Improvements
• Thomas County Transit and Bus System Complex
• Thomasville Municipal Airport Runway Extension and Improvements
• Airport Rd. Bridge Replacement
• Pinetree Blvd. Improvements
• Jackson St. and Pinetree Blvd. Turn Lane
• South Pinetree (Widening/Curb/Gutter and Sidewalk)
• East Pinetree (Widening/Curb/Gutter)
• Summerhill Rd. (Widening and Bridge Repair)

Worth County
• Davis Mill Rd. Bridge Replacement
• P.T. Salter Rd. (CR 164) Shoulder Pavement Widening and Paving
• Whiddon Mill Rd. Bridge Replacement
• Martin Luther King, Jr. Improvements (Sidewalk-Curb and Gutter)
• Monroe St./SR 313 Improvements (Sidewalks-Curb and Gutter)

- - - Region 11 Project List - - -

Atkinson County
• City of Willacoochee New Access Rd. to Industrial Park
• Widen SR 89/US 441 from CR 101/Clinch to SR 520 in Pearson/Atkinson

Bacon County
• Bacon County Airport Terminal
• CR 327 Big Satilla Creek Bridge Replacement
• SR 4 Alt/SR 4/Floyd St. Intersection Realignment

Ben Hill County
• Bridge Replacement Perry House Rd. at Willacoochee Creek Structure ID# 017-0020-0
• SR 107 Fitzgerald Widening: Ben Hill County/Fitzgerald Perimeter (SW Loop)

Berrien County
• Improvements to Fire Tower Rd.
• Nashville – Enigma Rd. Resurfacing
• Old Valdosta Rd. Resurfacing/Widening

Brantley County
• CR 50/Caney Bay Rd. at Buffalo Creek Bridge Replacement
• SR 23 at Little Buffalo Creek 7 mi. South of Nahunta
• SR 32 at Little Satilla River Overflow Bridge Maintenance

Brooks County
• Industrial Park Rail Spur
• Widening of SR 133 in Brooks & Colquitt Counties

Charlton County
• Bridge over Long Branch on Ralph Davis Rd. CR #52
• Widening of SR 40 from Kingsland to Folkston

Clinch County
• SR 38/US84 from Woodyard Creek to West of Greasy Creek
• SR 89/US 441 from Orange St. in Homerville to CR 101/Cowart Rd.

Coffee County
• Bridge replacement SR 158 Satilla River 12 mi. west of Douglas
• Harvey Vickers Rd. Widening
• Paving Bud Hutcheson/Chaney Rd. between SR 32 and SR 158
• US 441 from 4-Lane section in Douglas through Broxton
• Widening of SR 135 from SR 31/US 441 East to SR 32 (including RR separation)
• Widening of SR 32 from City Limits of Douglas to CR 296

Cook County
• Construction of Alabama Rd. from SR 37 to Old Quitman Rd.
• Intersection Improvement: SR 37 at SR 76 Roundabout

Echols County
• Intersection at US Hwy. 94 and State Route 135

Irwin County
• CR 252/Frank Rd. @ Willacoochee River Overflow Bridge Replacement
• CR 252/Frank Rd. at Willacoochee River Bridge Replacement

Lanier County
• Smith Dairy Rd. Paving

Lowndes County
• Construction of St Augustine Road Overpass
• Country Club Drive Widening - Jerry Jones Road to North Valdosta Road
• Jerry Jones Improvements
• Five Points Intersection in Valdosta Improvements
• Forrest Street Widening - Park Avenue to Bemiss Road
• Georgia and Florida Railway (GFRR) - Valdosta to Willacoochee Rehabilitation
• I-75 at CR 27/Lake Park-Bellville Road Interchange Improvements - Exit 2
• I-75 at SR 31 Interchange Replacement - Exit 11
• Lake Park Bellville Road Widening and Realignment Project
• Oak St Widening: Five Points to Cherry Creek Rd
• Old Clyattville Road Widening from I-75 to Ousley Road
• Old US 41 Widening from SR 7 to Union Road
• St Augustine at Norman Intersection Improvements
• St Augustine Road at Gornto Road Intersection Improvements

Pierce County
• Little Hurricane Creek Bridge replacement
• Pavement/Shoulder Widening of Midway Church Road from St. John`s Church Road to SR 121
• Southwest Central Avenue Extension

Tift County
• Passing Lanes and improvements on SR 35 from SR 520/Tift to SR 32/Irwin
• Construction of South Tifton Bypass
• CR 407/Old Ocillia Rd. Widening from SR 125 North to CR 18

Turner County
• Gorday Dr./Hudson Ave. and SR 112 Intersection Redesign
• Turner County Airport: Apron Expansion, Access Rd., and Perimeter Fencing Improvements

Ware County
• Manor-Millwood Widening (US 84 to US 82)
• SR 38/US84 from Greasy Branch CK to east of CR 294/Wadley Rd.
• SR 4/US 1 Bus. CSX Grade Separation in Waycross
• Waycross East Bypass (Northern Section-PHASE I)
• Widen and Improve City Blvd., Coral Rd. and Morningside Dr.

Info for any other region can be found on the Connect Georgia 2012 website at the following link.