Officials with the city of Milledgeville and Baldwin County came together Wednesday morning to provide information to the public on the proposed Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (T-SPLOST).
The sales tax referendum is on the ballot for the May 22 general primary.
It will be up to voters to approve the special 1-cent referendum or reject it. If voters approve it, and the same is done by voters in other counties that make up the Middle Georgia region, then residents of those counties will benefit from the special tax specifically designed for street and road projects.
The Middle Georgia region includes Baldwin, Crawford, Jones, Macon-Bibb, Peach, Pulaski and Wilkinson counties.
The special tax, if passed, will help fund four specific projects in Milledgeville and Baldwin County.
The largest local project is the widening of Log Cabin from two lanes to four lanes at a projected cost of $11.1 million.
The other three projects include safety enhancements along Kings Road, widening and resurfacing on North Jefferson Street, and widening, resurfacing and creating a turning lane on Dunlap Road.
Milledgeville City Planner Hank Griffeth talked about the importance of discretionary funds, which local governments could use in various ways to further enhance road projects in addition to the funds they would receive if voters approve T-SPLOST.
“The T-SPLOST is really, really important, and people tend to focus on the big projects, but the discretionary is huge,” Griffeth said.
He explained that the city has approximately 100 miles of streets and roads. Based on centerline measures and with the current rate of LMIG funding that the city receives, the city can resurface only about 1.1 miles of roadway per year.
“So, if you do the math on that you see that the number of years it would take to resurface all 100 miles of the city streets, along with the current LMIG receipts, it would be about 91 years,” Griffeth said.
He pointed out that it would mean a lot of city streets would have to be completely rebuilt.
Currently, the city of Milledgeville receives approximately $153,000 per year in LMIG funds from the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT), Griffeth said.
“That has been the average over the last five or six years,” he added. “It has increased a little bit over the past couple of years because, like the county, the city has had to take over some state routes that were turned over to local governments after the completion of the Fall Line Freeway. But I can assure you it hasn’t increased an appreciable amount of what it cost to take care of those roads that we were handed when the Fall Line Freeway was completed.”
Griffeth said under the proposed 10-year T-SPLOST, the city of Milledgeville has the potential to receive about $3.7 million in local discretionary money.
“You would get this in addition to the current LMIG funding,” Griffeth said. “If you add $150,000 over a 10-year period to this then you’re looking at some pretty decent money to keep your roads up.”