As early voting begins this week, residents across the state have a major decision to make that could affect the future of transportation in Georgia.
Should they vote to give themselves a 1 percent sales tax increase for the next 10 years in the hope that the money collected will help improve traffic flow in their region?
The T-SPLOST, or transportation-only sales tax, is designed to be used exclusively to improve transportation on a region-by-region basis. So, should you vote for the 1 percent sales tax?
That question, as with our regular, local SPLOSTs, really becomes: Do you believe in the dedicated project list? If yes, vote yes. If you believe the majority of those projects aren't of vital importance, vote no. If you need more information, read the various articles on CovNews.com and visit dot.ga.gov/localgovernment and follow the transportation referendum links to see the full projects lists and descriptions.
As for us, while we're certainly wary of raising any taxes, we know that our road and highway systems are in desperate need of repair and enhancement as state officials have mismanaged funds over the years. We recommend that you hold your nose real tight and vote yes, and then pray vigilantly that our government officials finally do the right thing in managing this tax and carrying out the projects promised.
Based on the math, Newton County is expected to receive more in money than its residents would pay out. We'll take that, because we have a lot of roads with a lot of needs, particularly in western Newton County where Brown Bridge, Crowell and Salem roads would all be widened if the T-SPLOST passes.
The battles that most of us see on Atlanta TV shouldn't have much affect on how you vote here in Newton County, because the project list for the Atlanta is separate from the one for Newton County.
The Atlanta Region contains the metro Rockdale County, but Newton County is part of the Northeast Georgia Region, which has had a much quieter debate.
We're unsure that the past history of highway construction mismanagement is going to change, and we're also unsure that the sky will fall if the tax isn't passed. However, in the end, we think the T-SPLOST makes enough sense for Newton County voters that they should support it.