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Local voters say ‘yes’ to tax; region says 'no'

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POSTED: August 1, 2012 9:50 a.m.

Election results show voters in Bryan County approved the special transportation tax, but they also show the 10-county region as a whole said ‘no’ to the additional penny on sales.
According to unofficial results from the Georgia Secretary of State election results website, voters here approved the transportation local option sales tax, or TSPLOST, referendum 2,563 to 2,418.
Those same results show Screven, Long and Liberty counties also voting in favor of the tax and Bulloch, Effingham, Chatham, McIntosh, Glynn and Camden counties voting in opposition of the tax
Because the referendum needs a simple majority of all registered voters in the region to pass, it means the Coastal Region has voted down TSPLOST and the chance at funding $1.6 billion in major transportation improvement projects over 10 years.
Ray Pittman, co-chair of the Bryan County TSPLOST Committee that sought to educate the public on the penny tax and the projects it would fund, said Tuesday night he was just pleased voters hit the polls.
“As long as voters get out there and pull the lever and are educated on the facts, I’m very happy that everyone voices their opinion,” he said.
“I would have loved for (TSPLOST) to have passed, but the voters are the ones who decide ... and that’s a good system.”
Some of the projects that would have been in store for Bryan County included improvements for all three interstate interchanges in Bryan County, a new interchange at I-95 and Belfast Keller Road, a bridge replacement at Highway 80 and the Ogeechee River, the widening of Highway 280 from I-16 to Highway 80 and several others.
Seventy-five percent of the $1.6 billion the tax is expected to raise would have gone toward the regional projects, like those mentioned above. The remaining 25 percent was to be returned to local county and city governments to use for local transportation projects.

 

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