Rockdale County citizens had their chance to ask questions and find out more about the TSPLOST Transportation Referendum that will go on the 2012 ballet in a telephone town hall on Tuesday.
The town hall with Conyers mayor Randy Mills and Rockdale County Chairman Richard Oden lasted about an hour with questions coming from concerned citizens about topics such as how much it will cost, what projects will be funded and what moneys will come back into Rockdale County.
The TSPLOST Transportation Referendum involves a one percent sales tax increase in 10 counties around the Atlanta region, including Rockdale, Cobb, Clayton, DeKalb, Henry, Fulton, Cherokee, Douglas and Gwinnett. The County Chairman and Mayor from each county are currently talking with their constituents in forums such as the one held on Tuesday and then will put together a draft on August 15of needs in each county. The mayors and chairmen will then get together in a roundtable on Oct. 15 and decide which projects will be put toward the bill. The bill will then go on the ballot in the 2012 election.
Even if Rockdale does not vote for the referendum but it gets approved in the majority of counties, it still goes through.
Among the projects being proposed for Rockdale County is an expansion of Sigman Road to Hayden Quarry.
"That's exactly why we feel the Sigman Road expansion comes into play," Oden said. "It creates opportunities and expansion."
The expansion of Sigman Rd through Hayden Quarry and up near the hospital will help bring more businesses with widening lanes for trucks and traffic, according to Mills and Oden.
The money for the projects will come from the TSPLOST and the 15 percent off the top of the projected near $7 billion brought in from the referendum. The tax will be in addition to the 7 percent sales tax already in effect in Rockdale County.
"It will not impact property tax," Mills said. "The one percent sales tax is really just a drop in the bucket."
Mills and Oden said the money from the TSPLOST will not be used for a transportation system such as MARTA in Rockdale. The area will stick with the GRETA system that currently goes to Sigman Rd and 138 providing transportation to Atlanta.
"We don't see a bus system as most people think of," Oden said. "I don't see MARTA coming here. We're too small for that. We don't see that type of transportation coming but we do see a continuation of GRETA, which is an express route to improve our quality of life."
"We're no t talking about an increase in service, we're talking about connectivity through transit," Mills said. "It's really connectivity we're really not talking about expanding bus services with this."
Oden said GRETA currently provides service to 9,000 riders a month from the Sigman RD stop and 6,000 from 138.
The question about GRETA and MARTA was posed by a citizen who said a MARTA stop brought crime to her previous communities.
The questions from participants in the telephone town hall ranged from public transportation to costs to local issues such as traffic lights on 138 near I-20.
For more information on the TSPLOST Transportation Investment Act please visit http://www.atlantaregionalroundtable.com/