Lights flash behind David McGhee as he begins his 390-mile journey surveying roads in Oconee County.
McGhee is an operator with consulting firm Infrastructure Management Services or IMS. He is traveling through the county in a van equipped with state-of-the-art lasers to analyze the road conditions.
“I collect all the data that is on the cement and concrete to make sure that we rate it from zero to 100 per road that way the county or city knows what needs to be repaired and how severe it is,” McGhee said.Why It’s Newsworthy: The road survey will be used to determine how to allocate funds in Oconee County if the TSPLOST is approved after a vote in November.
County Administrator Justin Kirouac said the County Commission decided to bring in IMS to serve Oconee County residents.
There’s still complaints about how we want to pave the road,” Kirouac said. “This is really taking all the decision-making out of it. It’s just here’s how much you can do, here’s how much you can afford, and this is the list.”
Preparing for the TSPLOST
The results of the road survey will be used to help with the TSPLOST, which is essentially a transportation tax. If it passes in November, the county will have money that can be put toward road paving.
“The idea is we would have an objective road-rating standard that we could roll out as part of the whole thing,” Kirouac said.
The Transportation Local Option Sales Tax or TSPLOST is a sales tax of up to 1% used exclusively for funding transportation purposes.
Proactive Approach to Paving
“We need to be paving 20 to 25 miles a year of road, we’re probably paving eight,” Kirouac said. “This is an opportunity to really get on a more proactive, measured approach.”
McGhee is helping make that approach possible. When it comes to residents’ responsibilities during the survey process, he says it’s business as usual. While the truck moves slowly, McGhee said residents can easily — and safely — move around.
The commission will vote on how to allocate the money in November using results of the IMS road survey.
Sam Perez is a senior majoring in journalism and Spanish and a certificate in New Media Studies in Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia.
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