Butts County and Cities Consider TSPLOST to Help Fund Truck Bypass Around Jackson | New
In the first joint city and county meeting since before the onset of the global pandemic, elected and appointed officials from Butts County and the towns of Jackson, Flovilla and Jenkinsburg gathered for a meal at the Fresh Air Barbecue on the 8th. July and to discuss issues of mutual interest to the four local governments regarding a possible sales tax on local special-use options for transport (T-SPLOST).
County Commission Chairman Joe Brown welcomed everyone to the meeting and then handed the presentation to County Director Brad Johnson to explain what a T-SPLOST is and what it is for. can serve. Johnson briefed everyone in attendance on a recent meeting held in Atlanta between the Georgia DOT commissioner, the local legislative delegation and members of local governments to discuss transportation issues and issues facing Butts County.
Johnson said all concerned believe the current and future traffic problems facing the citizens of Butts County could be better alleviated by a bypass that could potentially divert truck traffic from Highway 16 West to the Highway 36 on the north side of Jackson. Such a bypass would also work in tandem with the approved mini-bypass project about to start on Brownlee Road and Highway 36.
“As the distribution centers and proposed developments at Interchange 16 and I-75 emerge, trucks looking to get to Interstate 20 eastbound will seek faster, easier and more economical routes for them. , and it doesn’t. t include the use of I-75 and I-285, to handle Henry County and Atlanta traffic. They’re going to go through Jackson and head north to Covington to access that corridor, with the current traffic already doing that, ”Johnson said. “A potential bypass that connects 16 west to 42 and then north to 36 would help divert a lot of that traffic and keep the trucks moving. “
The county has proposed that cities consider partnering with them and holding a referendum to Butts County voters in 2022 to add a T-SPLOST penny sales tax dedicated just for that purpose. This level of commitment makes it easier for Georgia DOT to consider adding public funds to the project, which would also include a rail overpass at Highway 42 and Old Bethel Road. GDOT staff also suggested a possible second viaduct at some point south of Jackson as well, citing the increase in trains and traffic due to the expansion of Savannah’s ports.
While a T-SPLOST is similar to a regular SPLOST, ironically, it does not tax fuel sales, which is a big generator of sales tax in Butts County. For this reason, the proceeds from a T-SPLOST would represent several million dollars less revenue than a standard SPLOST, but could still generate over $ 12 million that could be spent on the project. Leveraging county funding with state funds and even possibly federal funds could make this project a reality.
There will be a lot to do if this moves forward. Johnson has asked each city to nominate someone to work on a task force to set deadlines, estimate revenues and work on an intergovernmental agreement required before a call for a referendum is proposed. Due to the time frame and planning involved, such a measure would likely not be presented to voters until May 2022 and much more detailed information can be determined in the meantime.
All mayors and council members present have expressed interest in moving forward with the project and will endeavor to appoint their representatives as soon as possible.