Senate Transportation Committee chairman Jeff Mullis of Chickamauga is leading the effort to get Senate Bill 39 and Senate Resolution 44, the Transportation Special Local Option Sales Tax (TSPLOST) bills, passed through the chamber quickly. Mullis represents Chattooga, Walker, Dade and part of Catoosa County in the State Senate.
The legislation unanimously passed through the Senate Transportation Committee last week and legislators are optimistic it will go to the Senate Floor for a full vote on Tuesday.
“There is over $185 billion dollars of private investment waiting to be used for public transportation. Georgia should not be left behind while other states move ahead,” said Sen. Mullis, a Republican. “This bill has come together as a bipartisan effort to address the transportation needs in the state of Georgia.”
Mullis said the TSPLOST is not about monetary gain. In rural communities the bill would help to stimulate economic development, he said. For Atlanta and urban areas it is intended to help alleviate congestion.
The TSPLOST bill is the most sweeping form of transportation legislation in Georgia history. It provides for a one percent sales tax to be used to fund transportation projects in special transportation districts within the state.
TSPLOST would generate up to $850 million in funding each year for the metro-Atlanta area, and up to $1.2 billion for the entire state. It provides greater choice and flexibility at the county level so that local areas can decide what transportation projects need funding the most. Should the bill pass in the legislature, a Constitutional Amendment will be on the November 2010 ballot for Georgians to vote.
Many senators back the bill saying it’s exactly what Georgia needs for long-term transportation and economic growth.
“As the economic engine of our state, it is critical that we get metro Atlanta out of our transportation crisis. Traffic stifles economic growth to our entire state. Voters in Atlanta are anxious to have an opportunity to decide whether or not they want to take a step forward to relieve congestion. And businesses need to see a clear message that Georgia is serious about addressing our transportation issues,” Mullis said. “This is a major step forward in the funding process so we can clear the gridlock on our roads.”
For more information on TSPLOST, go to www.legis.ga.gov and do a legislative search on SB39.
Walker County Messenger