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7/21/2012



By MEGHAN PITTMAN

The Brunswick News

Georgia House Bill 211 authorized the Transportation Investment Act of 2010, which established the Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax, or T-SPLOST, that is designed to fund local transportation projects across the state.

The July 31 ballot will ask all Georgia voters to approve or shoot down a 1 percent sales tax that will generate millions of dollars in revenue for projects in 12 Georgia regions.

If the majority of voters in each region approve the 10-year TSPLOST, the region will institute the tax throughout the region.

Passage would increase the sales tax in Glynn County to 7 percent from 6 percent.

As a part of the Coastal region, Glynn County will share revenue and projects with nine other counties.

The Coastal region, which includes Savannah in Chatham County, is projected to generate nearly $1.6 billion in revenue and is the second largest region behind Atlanta.

Proponents of the tax say it is needed to pay for vital transportation projects and that it would give a boost to the economy. Opponents say it's just another tax for projects the Georgia Department of Transportation should already be funding with existing tax proceeds.

The Brunswick-Golden Isles Chamber of Commerce supports the tax; the Glynn County Republican Party and Golden Isles Tea Party oppose the tax. The Glynn County Democratic Party says it "leans toward not supporting" the tax.

TSPLOST projects in Glynn County include Interstate 95 exit 42 reconstruction, $20 million; and widening U.S. 17 from Yacht Road to Harry Driggers Boulevard, $31 million.

It is estimated the tax would generate an additional $650,000 for the city of Brunswick and $3.15 million for the county annually.

There have been outspoken advocates for both sides of the debate surrounding the transportation tax in Glynn County.

Ronnie Perry, a real estate agent, says the tax is of the utmost importance to Georgia and Glynn County's ability to compete with surrounding counties.

"To keep up with other states and not fall behind, Georgians will have the chance to vote a 1 percent sales tax to fund these improvements," Perry said.

Perry says the completing of the Glynn projects will improve tourism and the local economy.

The Glynn County Republican Party has vehemently opposed the tax, saying that it is unnecessary and will cost people in Glynn County more than they will see in returns from its projects.

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