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October 17 – The Heart of Georgia Altamaha Regional Commission held their Transportation Roundtable meeting last week at the Vidalia Community Center.  The purpose of the meeting was to approve the final list of local and regional transportation projects that will be included in the transportation referendum that will go before the voters next July.     

Executive committee Chairman Buddy Adams explained the details of the meeting.  “The vote today was to approve the regional projects.  There were 3 counties that didn’t have a project that met DOT specs.  We approved all the regional projects and our region turned in more regional projects than any other region in the state.”  Adams also stated, “The DOT looked at them and told us what we needed to do on both the local and regional projects because there were some differences in the monies.  It took us a little while but everybody is getting something out of this.”  All the local and regional projects that were presented at the meeting were approved to be on the referendum. 

Chairman Adams explained the reason why voters should approve this tax referendum next July.  “This is some money that we would not get otherwise, mostly the local projects, from resurfacing and building some roads in our communities.  This is a way that we can do some projects for our citizens in each community.” 

Chairman Adams went on to explain that if 1 or 2 counties does not vote to pass the referendum but the overall 17 county region passes the referendum the tax will still go into effect for all the 17 counties involved.   

Jesup Mayor Herb Shaw was the lone dissenting vote on the commission in regards to the projects that were selected to be on the referendum.  Mayor Shaw stated that he felt the proposed projects would cost the taxpayers of Wayne County approximately 10 million dollars because the tax would generate approximately 40 million dollars but that Wayne County would only receive approximately 30 million dollars in transportation projects in return.   

Voters will cast their ballot on July 31, 2012 to determine if the 1 cent transportation special purpose local option sales tax will be enacted.