RINCON — The speech that the Rotary Club of Effingham County heard during its Thursday meeting at The Herald Center is one that County Manager Tim Callanan is likely to deliver many more times in the coming weeks.
Callanan explained the Transportation Special Purpose Local Options Sales Tax (TSPLOST) referendum that will be on the Nov. 3 Effingham County ballot.
“TSPLOST was a work to get on the ballot,” Callanan said. “It required both work operationally and working with the municipalities to get it done. I have to say between the three municipalities (Guyton, Rincon and Springfield) and the county — I was kind of warned in advance that it was going to be rough to get this through — but it really wasn’t the case and I think all the municipalities and the county realize (TSPLOST) is a big, big, big need out there.
“We had to figure out a way to get it on the ballot.”
Effingham County’s population is projected to increase by 25,000 in the next five years and its roads are already overrun with traffic or in poor condition.
Callanan estimated that a one percent TSPLOST, if approved by voters, would generate “optimistically” $45 million over five years in Effingham County.
“We’ve got three intergovernmental agreements passed with the municipalities and we came up with a way to distribute the funds that are collected,” he said. “Each municipality and the county came up with their own list of priority projects.”
Projects can include roads, bridges, public transit, rails, airports, buses, bicycle paths, sidewalks, right-of-way acquisition, drainage and more.
“Of the $45 million, we are basing (the use of it) on population,” Callanan said. “The county’s portion will be about $34 million. There is a lot of low-hanging fruit on roads that have to get done here in Effingham County.”
Callanan said the Effingham Parkway, which will be funded in large part by the State of Georgia, is a county priority. Work on the $58 million project, delayed several times by financial issues and other concerns, is currently set to start in July 2021. It will provide an alternate north-south route to Ga. Hwy 21.
“Effectively, the county is done with all of its responsibilities,” he said. “We are just wrapping up a condemnation project. We have done al our archeological work and so now were are just waiting on the (state) funding part of it.
“All the design is complete and (GDOT) certification should be done in early October on all that.”
The county has about a $5 million obligation toward the parkway.
“The county has been saving money through other resources to put toward it,” Callanan said. “We think that will get us across the finish line on it.”
Improvements to Goshen Road are also a priority.
“We feel like traffic flow would be tremendously enhanced simply by adding a turn lane, or three-laning it, the entire length from (Ga. Hwy 21) to Hodgeville (Road),” Callanan said. “That project is coming in at about $5.5 million.”
The county manager said that a website will likely be built so that residents can view all the projects included in the referendum.