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TSPLOST paying off where it passed

Nine regions of Georgia voted against the TSPLOST when it went to polls in July 2012.  But three areas approved the measure and now those regions are reaping the windfall from the tax.

"More than 130 million extra dollars were collected," says Jill Goldberg, with the Georgia Department of Transportation. 

$131 million to be exact and it represents about 7% of the total statewide budget for the DOT.

Not only are state road projects moving forward but localities are also getting an influx of cash, as 25% of TSPLOST money is earmarked for cities and counties in the regions that said yes.

"The check is cut to them every single month," says Goldberg.  "It's for projects they need for their citizens.

"We've got about 50 projects on the board right now," Goldberg tells WSB, "and I don't know how many local upgrades there have been."

One region that voted in favor of the tax had troubles at a local school.

"They were having a difficult time with traffic, congestion and safety for the children," Goldberg says.

Using TSPLOST funds a roundabout was built outside the school, forcing speeding cars to slow down near where children were getting off of school buses. 

But that wasn't all the cash did.

"They also put in sidewalks near some of the schools," Goldberg says, "encouraging children to walk to school."

The state DOT is also using the money to improve roads and start new projects in the three areas that said yes to TSPLOST.

In Columbia County the DOT broke ground this past week on a $30 million project to improve traffic flow. 

In the city of Eastman, the state has started work on a $6 million bypass that will allow truck traffic to go around the city when leaving the Port of Savannah.

TSPLOST failed in metro Atlanta, 63-37.  But in won approval in middle Georgia, including Columbus and Augusta.

As for the nine areas voting against the tax, they were required to put up 30% matching funds for projects for the first two years of TSPLOST, instead of the typical 10%.

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