Traffic and Infrastructure
Traffic and Infrastructure
The population of Cherokee County grew by 51.1% from the year 2000 to 2010. That level of growth is not sustainable which is why our infrastructure, primarily our roads, do not meet the needs of the population.
Cherokee County’s transportation infrastructure affects each citizen’s quality of life. Our roads connect us to our neighbors and the community, but they are also the pathways to stimulate economic development and progress of our county. It is vitally important for us to improve the roads and ease the traffic congestion.
The traffic we face today is a direct result from past over-development. The most congested roadways here in Cherokee County are State Highways. The county has a comprehensive plan for our transportation needs. The plan takes the rating of the roadway under consideration to determine the priority. The rating is based on congestion and safety issues. The timeline for completing each project is based on the financial resources available. For road projects to be completed sooner we need to find revenue sources to fund the much-needed improvements.
One source for additional funding is economic development, the tax revenue from the business community will help to balance our tax digest. We are fortunate that Cherokee County is experiencing economic growth that will add revenue to the county’s budget. We must continue to grow with new businesses here in Cherokee County.
We can increase funding by increasing our impact fees. I am proposing that we set up different areas based on the character areas in our land-use plan to adjust the impact fees to correspond to more realistic costs for providing the needed infrastructure for new developments.
The additional funding sources will help the county to keep up with the future needs, but the largest financial need is for the state highways. In 2014 Forsyth County passed a $200 Million Dollar Transportation Bond. This allowed them to improve their county roads to meet the growing population and they were able to have several state roads moved up in the state transportation plan by providing matching funds. In 2014 the transportation bond was the only option available, but the general assembly passed a bill in 2018 to allow counties to offer a local Transportation SPLOST.
I would not support a Transportation Bond as an option, it essentially places a 20-mortgage on every property, meaning Cherokee citizens would have the burden of higher taxes for 20 years! A five-year Transportation SPLOST would be a much better option for many reasons. The SPLOST would raise approximately $225 Million Dollars over five years and 35% of our SPLOST is paid for by visitors to Cherokee County placing less of the burden on our residents. I will support giving the voters the opportunity to choose if they want to approve a five-year Transportation SPLOST.