The transition to an all-electric fleet and $ 25 million for Athens transit operations are among the projects that made the first cut for TSPLOST 2023, but more cuts will be needed before the final list is certain.
During their working session on Tuesday, ACC commissioners will see the first tranche of potential projects to be funded by TSPLOST 2023 – a sales tax on local special-use options for transport of 1%, which is expected to be submitted to voters next May.
A citizens’ committee reviewed 87 projects – some submitted by staff, but many by CCA residents – at a total cost of $ 694 million. TSPLOST 2023, if passed by voters next year, is expected to bring in $ 144.5 million, meaning the citizens’ committee had some tough choices to make.
The first step in the process of reaching that $ 144.5 million cap is a reduced list of projects that add up to about 150% of expected tax revenue. Commissioners will see and discuss this list at their Tuesday working session, and then the citizens’ committee will narrow this list down to a group of projects that meet the revenue target.
Currently there are 48 projects on the list, 42 of which are community-led submissions. More than half of the potential projects chosen by the committee are improvements for bicycles and pedestrians, seven are related to transit and 14 projects relate to roads, bridges and stormwater improvements.
The traditionally underserved areas of eastern and northern Athens were able to see improvements after a community-led effort submitted a number of project ideas. The list of potential projects includes new bus stops and street lighting in the North Peter and Vine Street areas.
Big items on the list of potential projects include $ 25 million for Athens public transport operations and $ 16.7 million for the bicycle and pedestrian improvements planned by Athens in Motion. A set of repairs and upgrades for the county’s bridges has been reduced from some $ 4.6 million to about $ 2.1 million.
One major item that didn’t make that first cut is pavement maintenance. County officials had asked for nearly $ 72.5 million to improve and repave the county’s roads. Removing this project from the list of possible TSPLOST expenses does not mean that the roads will not be paved. County staff will need to find another way to pay for the maintenance, possibly through the regular budgeting process.