Sandy Springs, along with 12 other Fulton County cities, will ask voters to approve an extension of a transportation sales tax for another five years at the Nov. 2 municipal election.
The 0.75% Transportation Local Option Sales Tax is projected to bring $84.7 million to Sandy Springs over five years for Tier 1 projects. This first tier includes the highest priority projects and reflects 85% of the tax collections in county estimates. The tax revenue would be generated through purchases made within the county and online.
“It’s all still based on population. We think we’ll get about the same or a little better,” Sandy Springs Public Works Director Marty Martin said.
City residents can view TSPLOST II proposed projects and related documents, including an interactive map, on the city’s website.
Sandy Springs is the largest city in Fulton County outside of Atlanta, which has its own TSPLOST. Almost 18.3% of the county’s population lives in Sandy Springs.
Transportation projects designated in TSPLOST II would address congestion relief, pedestrian and bicycle projects, maintenance and safety.
Martin compared the city’s budget and its five-year capital improvement program for Public Works – plus some outside contributions – which would have the city spending approximately $70 million. Just the Tier One TSPLOST funding is projected to provide the city with almost $85 million in that same time.
“I’d say it’s easily doubling our ability to improve transportation infrastructure within the city,” Martin said.
Sandy Springs City Council approved a TSPLOST II projects list that designates $6.2 million for bridges. This includes the city’s contribution to replace the Mount Vernon Highway bridge over I-285, which is part of the Georgia Department of Transportation’s I-285 managed lanes project.
The city is allocating $38.5 million toward the Hammond Drive widening project, but it does not include funding for the Hammond-Roswell Road (Ga. 9) intersection.
The city’s sidewalk program would receive $12.1 million. Other pedestrian and bicycle projects include almost $3 million for a Boylston Drive side path and realignment, $1.5 million for sidewalks on Lake Forrest Drive, and a little more than $1 million to design side paths and sidewalks.
A section of the Path 400 multi-use trail along Ga. 400 in Sandy Springs would be funded with $4.4 million in TSPLOST II funds.
Path 400 and the Hammond Drive widening projects have been subject to many public hearings, both for TSPLOST I, II and the city’s transportation master plan, he said.
“As you look through the other municipalities’ programs as well, there seems to be a lot of community interest in pedestrian and bike projects,” Martin said.
He called them safety projects because they provide new routes for pedestrians and bike users.
To make the North End more walkable and to spur redevelopment, Sandy Springs plans to spend almost $9.7 million on its Roswell Road North Boulevard project, which begins at the Chattahoochee River and extends to Dunwoody Place.
The city would also dedicate $2.3 million to its traffic management system. It links all the city’s intersections with a centralized control.
There are other lower priority transportation projects on the list. They include almost $15 million to fund sidepaths for Roberts Drive, from Roswell Road to Dunwoody Place, and for Johnson Ferry Road, from Glenridge Drive to Peachtree Dunwoody Road.
Martin said as prices go up for materials, costs for transportation projects will rise. But he said that’s not the only cost to a roadway, streetscape or side path. Many projects will require right of way acquisition and could come with infrastructure costs such as moving utilities.