According to David Howerin, director of regional planning, about 25-30 people stopped by to pick up information on how the special tax would benefit Catoosa County.
Howerin's answer was, "The tax will allow us to develop a safe transportation system for the region, as well as create jobs."
There is about $53 million earmarked for the county on the 15-county regional list, which is 75 percent of the funds to be spent in Catoosa. Another 25 percent will go to Fort Oglethorpe ($156,000 in 2013) and Ringgold ($81,000 in 2013) along with unincorporated areas in discretionary funds. These latter funds may be used at the discretion of the municipality for road construction.
Catoosa County belongs to the northwest Georgia region, which includes 14 additional counties: Bartow, Chattooga, Dade, Fannin, Floyd, Gilmer, Gordon, Haralson, Murray, Paulding, Pickens, Polk, Walker and Whitfield.
In 10 years, or the expected life of the tax, Fort Oglethorpe is expected to gain $1.5 million and Ringgold $800,000. The county itself is projected to gain in the neighborhood of $13 million in 10 years.
According to Howerin, the tax option must pass regionally by a 50-percent-plus-one majority to go into effect. Counties may not opt out. Should the tax effort fail in Catoosa but pass regionally, the county will still be required to participate.
Should the expected income for the tax be reached in less than the 10 years, the tax will cease at that point.
David Kennamer, principal planner for the Northwest Georgia Regional Planning Commission, said, "One of the common misconceptions is that money raised in the region will go to Atlanta to be used in other areas of the state. This is in fact a false statement. All the TSPLOST funds raised will stay right here in the northwest region."
These projects have been pre-approved for Catoosa County under the Transportation Investment Act.
· Candy Lane extension: $450,000 ($450,000 from TIA)
· Dietz Road widening: $10,675,940 ($5,300,000 from TIA)
· Mack Smith Road widening and enhancements: $19,350,000 ($18,000,000 from TIA)
· Mineral Avenue widening and enhancements: $9,650,000 ($9,650,000 from TIA)
· South Cedar Lane widening and enhancements: $5,100,000 ($5,100,000 from TIA)
· U.S. 41 widening $50,000,000: ($10,000,000 from TIA)
· U.S. 41 milling down at CSX underpass: $30,000 ($30,000 from TIA)