Dozens of residents turned out at Dunwoody High School for a forum last week on the Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax, or T-SPLOST, and its potential impact on areas ranging from planning to commerce.
DeKalb’s denizens and those residing in the other nine metro area counties will decide whether to approve the 1 percent tax to support transportation projects July 31.
“The city’s not here to advocate for or against the T-SPLOST,” said Michael Smith, Dunwoody director of highway safety.
He did acknowledge, however, the monetary impact of the measure, should it be approved, would be substantial.
“If it were to pass, it would mean $22 million to Dunwoody for transportation improvements,” Smith said. “That would allow us to implement things sooner than we would without it.” This incarnation of T-SPLOST mandates 15 percent of all funds raised in the region will go directly to local jurisdictions to use on any transportation projects they choose. At a clip of $900,000 a year, Dunwoody’s haul equates to $9 million during the next 10 years.
T-SPLOST terms also dictate that 52 percent of the funds on the regional projects list will go to transit. Attendees at last week’s forum, who appeared split on their support of the tax, questioned why that amount was not being dedicated to road repairs instead.
Two of the projects on the aforementioned list directly apply to Dunwoody. Corridor improvements along the stretch of Mt. Vernon Road from the Fulton County line to Dunwoody Club Drive come at a price tag of $12 million. The other project — Perimeter Center Intelligent Transportation System program — has been projected to cost $1 million.
Residents at the forum also inquired why a sales tax was being considered in lieu of an increase in the gasoline tax.
Dunwoody’s business realm, which accounts for 70 percent of the city’s revenue, could be poised for an upswing, officials said.
“Dunwoody’s geographic location of being near three highly traveled major interstates is significant as each day over 100,000 people come to Dunwoody to work and shop at our main business and retail district — Perimeter Center,” said Don Boyken, president of the Dunwoody Chamber of Commerce. “The improvements to those major interchanges will allow traffic flow freely on the interstates and remove the cut through traffic from the local streets.”
The city’s two other primary business districts, Dunwoody Village and Georgetown, could also be poised to benefit from the potential ease of traffic and significant improvements to local streets. “Our businesses are in favor of anything that increases the ease of local Dunwoody citizens to get to their shops and businesses,” Boyken said.