News 12 at 6 o'clock / Thursday, Jan. 3, 2013
EVANS, Ga. -- Voters approved it in July, and now the TSPLOST is hitting you in the wallet. Thirteen counties in Georgia now have a new sales tax to pay for road projects.
Starting Tuesday, you started paying 1 cent more on every dollar you spend, but be patient, because you won't see the roadwork overnight.
Heather Brehmer is spending another day buying groceries.
"Grocery shopping -- should be monthly but seems to be more like weekly," Brehmer said.
She says she didn't realize the extra 1 percent sales tax for the voter-approved TSPLOST started Jan. 1.
"I had no clue," Brehmer said.
It's an extra penny on every dollar she spends.
"My husband and I were just talking about this, and on average, I would say that we spend over $1,300 a month. We have three kids. I have no idea where it goes," Brehmer said.
Brehmer's family is not alone. The USDA says in November the average grocery bill was around $930. That's about $9 more a month, or $111 a year for road projects in the 13-county region.
"We've had some people kind of notice that on things that they've bought and mention it already since Jan. 1," explained Ron Cross, a member of the TSPLOST planning committee.
"My husband's jaw drops every time he sees a grocery bill. Even if it's an extra $10, it's not going to be good," Brehmer said.
The number one project on the list for some is the extension of River Watch Parkway into Evans.
"It's going to put us probably 10 to 15 years ahead of what normally would happen had there not been a TSPLOST, or had it been disapproved," Cross said.
And even though the penny started adding up on Tuesday, leaders say it will take time before you see the work.
"We'll see the first check in March," Cross explained.
The money will have to go to Atlanta and the Department of Revenue before the more than 80 road projects can start.
"It's a real boost to the whole region and I think people that voted for it will be glad they voted for it and the people that didn't, I think, will see the results of something being very positive," he said.
Cross says the DOT is planning to advance some of the money for the River Watch Parkway extension project. They hope to start construction in the late spring or early summer. Each of the 13 counties have projects on the list.