Representatives from Henry County’s business community are throwing their collective weight behind legislation geared to improving transportation options in metro Atlanta.
The Henry County Chamber of Commerce’s board of directors voted, recently, to endorse a regional Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (T-SPLOST) referendum. The proposed measure is scheduled for a vote in the Georgia Primary Election, July 31.
“Voters in the metro-Atlanta region, which includes Henry County, have an opportunity to make history and make a difference on July 31,” said Chamber President Kay Pippin.
“This first-ever effort to come together as neighbors to address our mutual concerns with Atlanta’s traffic congestion is history-making. The approval of the proposed one-cent sales tax will pay for the completion of over 150 transportation-improvement projects that will greatly contribute to the mitigation of our traffic woes, and when all these projects start moving dirt, our economy will see a drastic improvement.”
The regional T-SPLOST proposes a one-cent sales tax to be levied over a 10-year period. It is projected to bring more than $7 billion in revenue, with $279 million of the total to be generated in Henry, with a direct return of $193 million on identified road projects in the county; another $74 million to be returned to Henry’s four cities for transportation improvements; and $11.8 million to continue the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority’s Xpress Bus service.
The chamber’s board, which represents nearly 700 members, voted to support the referendum, on Wednesday.
“The metro Atlanta region generates more sales tax revenue than any other in the state of Georgia,” said Chamber Board Chairman Danny Brown. “But currently, that money does not all stay in the region. It’s distributed statewide like most other taxes. T-SPLOST revenues will all be spent with the metro Atlanta region where they are collected.”
Brown said early estimates indicate a 99 percent return on the local tax investment into the T-SPLOST. He added that a vote in favor of the referendum also translates into an improved quality of life for area residents, and that the chamber has taken steps to inform its members of the referendum’s benefits.
“With over 69 percent of Henry County residents commuting out of county to work each day, we are enhancing their daily lives by helping traffic flow throughout the Atlanta region,” said Brown. “We have provided detailed written information via our newsletters, meetings, one-on-one conversations and a forum, to offer our members ample opportunity to become well-educated voters.”
“I am confident the vote taken by our Board of Directors reflects our members’ support for the referendum,” Brown continued. “We will use the voice of the chamber, going forward, to encourage members to support and vote for the regional Transportation SPLOST on July 31.”
Doug Hooker, the executive director of the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC), recently conducted a study on the transportation referendum. Hooker said the endeavor would carry benefits for commuters and families in the region.
“The July 31 transportation referendum will not only unclog our roads, but will pump life into our region’s economy and afford us more time at home and with family,” said Hooker.
A press release issued Wednesday by the chamber, states that the 157 transportation improvement projects associated with the referendum would help commuters to save $9.2 billion by 2040.
“If the projects are completed, ARC’s planners and independent economists found, income across metro Atlanta would rise by $18 billion during the next 30 years,” the release states. “Investing $8 billion in transportation investments that free up traffic throughout the region will support and sustain 200,000 new jobs ... including jobs that are maintained year over year.”
The news release adds that transportation projects on the referendum list would bring a $34.8 billion return on an $8 billion investment.
“Commuters will also have more time for home and family, more productive time at work — and a region that is far more attractive to job-seekers and job-producers,” the release states.
For more information, visit www.transformmetroatlanta.com.