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County sends T-SPLOST list forward
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The executive committee of the regional transportation roundtable will meet Wednesday morning at Richmond Hill City Center to begin paring the list of road and transit projects that may go before voters next year.

Effingham County commissioners approved the final list of unconstrained projects for the executive committee to consider. The unconstrained list includes all four phases of the Effingham Parkway, also known as the Georgia Portway, a new overpass at I-16 and Old River Road and a truck bypass for Highway 119 in Springfield.

The unconstrained list, also approved by the countywide transportation advisory board, has been sent to the Coastal Regional Commission.

“The executive committee is going to do the hard work of actually coming up with the constrained list,” said Toss Allen, engineer for the county public works department.

The six projects are estimated to cost more than $150 million. Projections call for the 10-county region to have $1.6 billion in sales tax money available over a 10-year period for the projects — if voters approve the one-cent transportation sales tax in a July 2012 referendum. That vote will be held in conjunction with the general primary elections.

However, if the regional transportation roundtable cannot reach a consensus on the projects to be put before the voters, no vote will be held in that region.

The constrained draft investment list will be developed by the roundtable executive committee in collaboration with the state planning director. The final list will be developed from the draft list and approved by the regional transportation roundtable. The draft list, by law, will be approved by Aug. 16 and the final list must go to the state by Oct. 15.

Each county in the CRC has two appointees to the roundtable, and the executive committee has five voting members. The executive committee chairman, who does not vote, is Bryan County Commission Chairman Jimmy Burnsed. The three General Assembly members who also sit on the executive committee but also do not vote are state Reps. Ann Purcell and Jon Burns and state Sen. Jack Hill.

Once the executive committee comes up with a constrained list, public hearings will be held on those selections before the full regional transportation roundtable votes on it in August.

The state transportation planning director removed two projects from the original list, according to Allen, as a road overlay project for Guyton and the east-west corridor through the Research Forest Tract were nixed.

If voters in a region turn down the transportation sales tax, then local governments in that region will have a 30 percent match for state transportation local maintenance and improvement grants. It also bars another vote on the sales tax for another two years.

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