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Still not sold on TSPLOST

By Walter Geiger I have been leery of the entire TSPLOST concept since I first heard about it some two years ago and penned a piece in this space warning readers to be wary of the plan. Now, with the vote just over four months hence, I am still not sold. TSPLOST is a one percent sales tax voters are being asked to levy upon themselves for the next 10 years in order to ‘improve the state’s transportation infrastructure.’ The state has been divided into 12 regions for TSPLOST distribution and implementation. Counties cannot opt out. Lamar and Pike are lumped into Region 4 with Spalding, Butts, Upson, Carroll, Coweta, Heard, Meriwether and Troup. Pike and Lamar counties are similar but have distinct differences. Some other counties in Region 4 are also similar but Carroll and Coweta are different beasts altogether. If TSPLOST passes in all 12 regions, projections are $18 billion would be raised over a decade. In Region 4, that projection is $947 million. Remember, projections are just that: projections. Pike will get widening and resurfacing projects on County Farm, Flat Shoals, Hollonville, New Hope and Williamson-Zebulon Roads. Lamar has chosen to partner with Upson to four-lane Hwy. 36 from Thomaston to I-75. It has placed all its eggs in one basket in that this is the only project to be earmarked. Your pennies will go to pay for these projects but you will also pay for longer wish lists in other counties including questionable vanpool services, a new runway at the Newnan airport, yet another study on the pipe dream of rapid rail that Spalding saw fit to include on its list and, of course, a hefty ‘˜program administration fee.’ Are the local projects good ones? Yes. Would they improve transportation hereabouts? Absolutely. But, will those in Lamar and Pike get enough plums for their pennies? I remain skeptical. What do you think?

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