Approximately seven weeks ago, many of us participated in an open and democratically held election. Regrettably, the majority of Columbia County's voters supported renewal of the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax, and with it, more than $39 million to expand Washington Road from Halali Farm Road to William Few Parkway.
Road improvements are great, but why should Columbia County pay for work on a state road? Columbia County spends exponentially more money than it should, let alone spending county funds on a state road.
For some time, the majority whip and the appropriations committee chair of the same state legislative body have been from Columbia County. The chair of the state transportation board is from Augusta. We already pay taxes to the state to make the necessary modifications on state roads. Money for roads is not pork or frivolous spending, and to have the county fund state road improvement is an insult to each and every one of us. This is inexcusable, plain and simple.
According to the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute, during the past five years Georgia's spending went from $16.1 billion to $21 billion. So money is being spent, but for some reason, not much made its way to Columbia County.
And guess what: Georgia has a massive budget deficit and the state Department of Transportation is overextended by $1 billion, all of this news coming a few short months after state Legislators boasted Georgia's top-10 ranking in fiscal responsibility.
Yes, we know that as the population increases, so does state spending. To that I will say: revenue increases too; spend it wisely, not on governmental munificence.
So where's the money going? Not for roads in Columbia County.
However, it was deemed more important to unearth photosynthetic materials and replace them with blocks, big and stacked high, all along Interstate 520. So drunk drivers, texting drivers and those fleeing police officers will not only harm themselves by greeting a tree or trees at high speeds, but thanks to the iron curtains, they will be able to pinball back onto the highway and take out any one of us as well as themselves.
What was the DOT and Legislature thinking? Most suspect thoughts of pork for the Augusta Golf and Gardens and possible raises for DOT Board members.
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.