Georgia’s department of transportation is officially moving on from metro Atlanta voters rejecting a $7 billion transportation sales tax referendum. Instead, they are turning to three other regions that voted yes to pay for improved local roads and highways. For the first time Wednesday, state officials held an industry briefing on the hundreds of projects that will be funded by the sales tax in Augusta, Columbus and a collection of counties in south-central Georgia. Those communities were the only three of 12 regions across the state that passed the one-cent sales tax in the July 31 primary. Russell McMurry, the state Department of Transportation’s engineering director, placed a positive spin on the approval votes in these three regions by saying some people will think the regions, which stretch U-shaped across the heart of Georgia, resemble a smiley-face. The tax is expected to increase tax revenues by 1.8 million dollars that will greatly benefit the state’s beleaguered paving industry.
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