DEKALB CO., Ga—Dekalb CEO Michael Thurmond is counting on voters to approve a $600 million tax that would go toward fixing ailing roads.
In November, voters will weigh in on a penny sales tax to help repair more than 400 miles of rough roadway in Dekalb.
“I have no doubt this is going to pass,” says Thurmond. “There is no plan "B". Failure is not an option.”
Mary Rankin travels Houston Mill Road on her way to work each day.
“You have to dodge the potholes,” says Rankin.
Since 1986 she's watched Houston Mill deteriorate.
“It's only going to get worse,” she says.
It's one of the roughest stretches of asphalt in Dekalb County, but not the worst.
“Obviously, we've had needs that have not been met,” says Thurmond.
If approved in November, the Special Local Option Sales Tax would raise $600 million over five years. 85% of the money raised would go to roads and bridges.
The county has inspected and rated the condition of each roadway. A rating of 30 or above means it's time to repave. Most of Houston Mill Road is rated a 32.
More than 1,500 sections of roadway are rated from 30 to 35. That's more than 400 miles.
Thurmond says the penny tax would be a game changer.
Mary Rankin is not as confident voters will approve the tax.
“You just never know,” she says.
If the tax is approved by voters, Thurmond says work to repair damaged roads could begin next January.
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