The ability to transport goods and human beings safely and efficiently across long distances is fundamental to economic life in modern societies. The word “infrastructure” is used to describe all the facilities that an economy has in place, including its transportation network of roadways, railroad tracks, and ports, as well as the vehicles and vessels to use them.
An adequate infrastructure is a prerequisite to economic development, and transportation is widely recognized as a key component in economic growth. Effective and efficient transportation systems are vital to the prosperity of regions because they link residents with employment, public services, shopping and social networks, and businesses to labor, consumer, buyer, and supplier markets.
A relation between the quantity and quality of transport infrastructure and the level of economic development is apparent. High-density transport infrastructure and highly connected networks are commonly associated with high levels of development. When transport systems are efficient, they provide economic and social opportunities and benefits that result in positive multiplier effects such as better accessibility to markets, employment, and additional investments.
The Gainesville-Hall County Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) is among the top 50 fastest growing metros in the U.S. Total population is over 205,000 with a daytime population in Gainesville, the county seat, exceeding 150,000 people. Gainesville-Hall County has seen significant growth in the last 10 years.
The need to prepare for future growth – transportation and infrastructure – is vital. It is imperative that we address our current and future infrastructure needs with a progressive plan of action. An important part of this planning process is the public’s participation in developing long term goals and setting short term priorities for the region’s transportation system.
We need to consider a dedicated transportation SPLOST – a T-SPLOST (Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax) – that is voted on by the citizens of Hall County. The purpose of T-SPLOST is to directly invest in our roads and bridges to keep them safe and to meet the growth of our community. T-SPLOST funding would cover specific large transportation projects. Other counties have passed a T-SPLOST and are improving their roads and building new roads for future growth. Look for more information on a Hall County T-SPLOST in the near future.