American Heart Association supports sales tax to provide sidewalks, bike paths


AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF)– A $250 million dollar decision to be made on March 16 as voters head to the polls and decide if the city will implement a special purpose local optional sales tax for city projects.

Some of the projects on the sales tax project list has an organization pushing for people to vote “yes” on Tuesday.

While the project list is new, the tax would simply be a continuation of the current penny tax. More than $1 million of the money collected would be used to provide or improve city sidewalks and biking paths.

“It makes neighborhoods more livable, our streets safer. It improves the quality of life all around,” executive director of the CSRA chapter of the American Heart Association, Kayla Kranenberg said.

Ellen King, a local survivor of heart disease, says she is advocating for the SPLOST because it will provide people with a place to exercise.

“Once again, the main point is so that individuals get in that exercise that they need for their hearts,” King said.

Areas with sidewalks and biking paths have less pedestrian involved car accidents than neighborhoods without. King says she believes the paths will provide peace of mind for walkers, joggers, bikers, and even drivers.

“It [safety] is definitely a motivator. Who wants to be out when they’re afraid?” King said. “It’s very important for this area to have a walking and cycling path so individuals will have the opportunity to enhance their health or heart conditions by getting out and getting involved.”

Kranenberg says she believes the aid from the tax will be especially helpful in lower-income neighborhoods.

“There’s been some disparities in those communities,” Kranenberg said. “I think with this funding, we could really make up for some of those lost years of opportunity that has been missed and make some neighborhoods that haven’t necessarily been a priority in having those bike lanes and sidewalks a higher priority moving forward.”

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