Fayette Chamber questioned about support for controversial T-SPLOST
The Fayette County Chamber of Commerce recently published a statement supporting the upcoming vote on the regional transportation T-SPLOST initiative. Chamber President Virginia Gibbs last week addressed the reasons and the rationale behind the statement of support.
Gibbs said 18 of the 21 voting members of the board attended the meeting that resulted in the chamber’s support for the T-SPLOST. Of those, 14 voted in favor and four were opposed, Gibbs said.
The run-up to the vote included a very intensive and lengthy assessment period that began last year, said Gibbs.
“(Supporting T-SPLOST) was not a quick decision or an easy one,” she said. “There was an extensive amount of research and conversations with a cross-section of folks.”
A part of the process that led to the endorsement for the referendum came from the chamber’s Governmental Affairs Committee where speakers on both sides of the issue presented their positions, Gibbs said.
“Ultimately the committee reached a consensus and voted earlier this year to make a recommendation to support it,” said Gibbs. “Then the board discussed the issue and wanted even more discussion.”
Also prior to the vote on the T-SPLOST initiative, board members reached out to all facets of the chamber membership represented on the board, including small and large businesses, non-profits and community organizations, Gibbs said.
“We relied on that cross section of diverse members to talk with their constituents. They brought back information that led to a consensus,” Gibbs said, adding that the 14-4 board vote supporting T-SPLOST was the culmination of the effort that began in 2011.
The conversations and deliberation that led to the T-SPLOST endorsement were preceded by a 2011 chamber survey taken by approximately 24 percent of the chamber’s nearly 700 members. That percentage of members responding to such a survey is relatively high, Gibbs said.
Eighty per cent of survey respondents said transportation issues are currently adversely impacting them or their businesses. The top three issues identified were 1) the Interstate 85/Ga. Highway 74 interchange congestion, 2) significant congestion on a specific road or intersection inside Fayette County and 3) a lack of alternative routes into/out of Fayette County.
And pertaining to a question on transportation issues, 57 percent said they had reached a critical point where transportation mobility issues must be addressed to continue to sustain the quality of life and/or economic health of Fayette County in the future.