Frady says he will ‘wait and see’ on his support for regional tax
Fayette County Commission Chairman Herb Frady said he will not yet commit to supporting an initiative to implement a 10-county regional transportation sales tax.
Instead, Frady wants to see the final list of projects that would be funded in Fayette County with sales tax revenue. That list, however, won’t be finalized for a matter of several months.
“If we don’t get the money back that we’re putting into it, we won’t support, and you’ll know that before you have to vote,” Frady said.
Fayetteville Mayor Ken Steele has taken the same stance.
Both Frady and Steele are Fayette’s representatives on the 21-member Regional Transportation Roundtable, a group that is compiling the project list for the proposed regional tax.
Frady noted that one of the requirements for such projects is a need for them to connect between county jurisdictions.
The June 2012 vote on the tax, which was authorized last year by the Georgia legislature, will be tabulated region-wide. That means if the vote passes in the aggregate among the 10-county Atlanta region, the tax will be implemented in all 10 counties.
So even if Fayette voters deep-six the regional tax, it would still be enacted here if it achieves a majority vote in the entire region.
If approved, the sales tax would generate $7.8 billion dollars over a 10-year period, according to state projections.
Fayette County is expected to chip in some $205 million, equal to 2.6 percent of the tax’s entire revenue.
In addition, if the tax is approved, Fayette County and its cities will get an estimated $46 million returned here to pay for any transportation project, whether it is regional in nature or not. That portion of the money could go towards golf cart improvements or local road improvements and maintenance, officials have said.
That $46 million will be split up among the counties and the cities for their governments to spend as they choose.
Peachtree City Mayor Don Haddix has criticized the regional transportation sales tax as putting Fayette County in a position to be a “donor county” for projects in the other nine counties in the region. Haddix has said he would rather Fayette County have a crack at another local transportation SPLOST instead.
The Regional Transportation Roundtable has already authorized a state-recommended list of “investment guidelines” to show how much regional T-SPLOST money could be spent on any given transportation category.
Among the categories receiving the largest investment range are roadway capital at 20-50 percent, transit capital at 10-40 percent, safety and traffic operations at 5-15 percent and roadway and bridge maintenance at 0-10 percent.
The investment guidelines also allow for funds to be set aside for transit operations and maintenance at a level between 5 and 20 percent.