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Columbia County and state leaders discuss Transportation Investment Act

COLUMBIA COUNTY, Ga.(WJBF) - Columbia County residents may have voted "No" for it but if you've driven along some of the roadways in the county, you've seen the progress the regional Transportation Investment Act or T-SPLOST has made.

It was the focal point of the Chamber's Post Legislative Breakfast, Wednesday.

The River Watch Parkway expansion is the latest project to be completed in Columbia County under the Transportation Investment Act.

The ribbon was cut on the completion of the $65-million project, last month.

It's not the only TIA project in the county.

For example, Robinson Avenue in Grovetown is currently being widened and more work is coming to Lewiston Road.

"Obviously, that was a huge problem on the interstate. We haven't even done the big fix but we were able to do an interim fix for about $800,000 and alleviate that problem for the next five years," said Columbia County Traffic Engineering Director Steve Cassell.

"It advanced our transportation program probably about 15 to 20 years," said Columbia County Chairman Ron Cross.

Columbia County voters turned TIA down when it was last on the ballot.

But, Jay Roberts with G-DOT says TIA passed because it was a "yes" vote regionally.

"There's no doubt about it when you see those orange cones and orange barrels around. I mean, we always say, pardon our progress. We're not going to apologize. We say pardon our progress because when you see those orange barrels, you know that things are happening," said Roberts.

Roberts is now looking to local leaders for another run.

"Within the next year, start looking at it, determine if they're going to put it back on the ballot. But, also look at a long range transportation plan. Look at the growth and see what they're going to have because of the base expansion," said Roberts.

Columbia County commissioners are listening.

"The commission has been talking about how we're going to approach it. Now, you can go back as a single county or back to the region. The region has the most benefits," said Cross.

County leaders say the next T-SPLOST or TIA project on the list is Flowing Wells Road.

Tuesday night, commissioners said they were able to acquire all the easement needed and the project is set to be bid June of 2018.


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