Exactly one year ago Georgia voters went to the polls to cast their ballots and decide the fate of the state’s Transportation Investment Act (TIA). The act allowed each of the state’s 13 regions to decide whether to implement an additional penny sales tax for transportation, which was commonly referred to as T-SPLOST.
Georgia transportation officials are collecting feedback this month for a study on a high-speed train. It would run between Atlanta and Charlotte. It’s the latest in a string of rail proposals, many of which have been shelved.
Gov. Nathan Deal has signed two transportation bills into law that aim to help the state move forward on major projects. Deal signed the bills Thursday at an event at the Atlanta Metro Chamber of Commerce. The first, House Bill 202, provides greater flexibility for the state to distribute funds for interstate improvements and major regional projects, including deepening the shipping channel to the busy Port of Savannah.
A proposed penny sales tax for transportation would fund mostly road projects and is dividing advocates for alternative modes of transit. T-SPLOST would add one-cent to sales taxes and voters will decide its fate in 12 regions in July. The proposal has divided black lawmakers.
City leaders have been pushing for regional train service for the west Georgia city. Today's meeting will include speakers with knowledge of passenger rail and experience in bringing it back to viability. City leaders in Columbus have said that having high-speed rail service to their city is one of their top priorities.
Conservative thinkers gathered in Atlanta Friday to discuss ways to solve Georgia’s economic challenges. Some ideas presented at the Georgia Public Policy Foundation conference will likely reappear as part of proposed legislation when the Republican-controlled General Assembly convenes in January.
There will be public meetings this week in Fitzgerald, Toccoa and Dalton about next year’s transportation sales tax vote. They will give residents there one last chance to discuss the projects that the tax would fund, if passed.