GDOT Local Beneficiary Analysis of TIA Project Expenditures, Phase II : Impact Evaluation

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  • Abstract:
    In 2012, voters in three regions of Georgia—Central Savannah River Area, Heart of Georgia Altamaha, and River Valley—approved the Transportation Investment Act (TIA) referendum, which added 1% to local sales taxes. Seventy-five percent of the additional tax revenues support transportation projects that voters in the three regions approved; the remaining 25% goes to local areas for transportation projects or related activities they choose (i.e., local discretionary funds). The purpose of this multi-phase impact evaluation of TIA is to examine longitudinally how TIA affects the stakeholders and beneficiaries in the three regions. Phase I examined the impacts that occurred between 2013 and 2014, while this Phase II effort investigated expenditures and activities between 2014 and 2016. During Phase II, the survey sample size was increased significantly from 96 stakeholders (Phase I) to 333 stakeholders and households (Phase II). Phase II added three comparison regions that voted against TIA in 2012: Middle, Northeast, and Southern Georgia. The survey responses were supplemented with 30 in-depth interviews. The research found that returning a share of revenue collected to local areas is the most highly valued attribute of the program, with 85% of survey respondents saying the local discretionary fund is “extremely important” to them. The in-depth interviews reinforced this finding. Residents of TIA and non-TIA regions were very supportive of the program; 91% of residents in TIA regions and even 73% of residents in non-TIA regions said they would vote “yes” if the referendum were held today. Overall, 88% of residents in TIA regions indicated they were “very satisfied” or “satified” with the way GDOT has implemented the program. This is a 10% increase over Phase I survey responses to the same question. GDOT’s total project expenditures within TIA through 2016 amounted to $222.1 million and expenditures through the Spring of 2018 are $317.9 million. Currently, 448 of the 871 voter-approved projects have been completed and 57 are under construction. Using those figures, the research estimated that the combined economic impact of voter-approved projects is 3686 new jobs and $419.7 million in total economic activity respectively through 2016. The participation of Small Businesses and Disadvantaged Business Enterprises between 2014 and 2016 was 4.1% and 5.1%, respectively.
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