CAIRO — Grady County is “not going to waste any time” getting started on new road construction projects following the passage of a new transportation special purpose local option sales tax (TSPLOST) last week, said County Administrator Buddy Johnson.

Grady County voted overwhelmingly last week to approve the 1 percent TSPLOST, a move that Johnson said is “huge” for the county.

“It’s a big win for the county, especially when we’re talking about roads,” he said. “That’s just one thing we don’t have the funding for and this is going to give it to us.”

An estimated $9 million is expected to be raised for the county over the next five years, and Johnson plans to meet with Road Department superintendent Stanley Elkins and the county engineer Stacy Watkins within the next several weeks to discuss how to strategically execute several key projects and get as many roads paved as possible.

“We’ve got several that we want to jump on,” Johnson said.

County officials also are looking to cut down on mobilization fees by having work crews shift quickly from one project to the next.

Up first for the county is likely Open Pond Road, which Johnson hopes can start being resurfaced toward the end of the year. Other projects lined up include Pine Park Road, Mizpah Road, Lower Hawthorne Road and Old Thomasville Road.

Any residents who are concerned that TSPLOST revenues will be spent on Tired Creek Lake can rest assured that the funds can only be used for transportation-related projects, Johnson said.

“It cannot be and will not be (used for the lake),” he said. “Transportation. That’s it. That’s all it can go toward.”

County commissioner LaFaye Copeland noted that the 1 percent TSPLOST applies to all transactions made within Grady County regardless of the purchaser’s county of residence, calling the tax a “win-win.”

Voters who approved the TSPLOST made a “smart move,” Johnson said.

“This lets some of the outside folks put a little bit of money into it,” he said. “If they’re driving through, we get a little piece of it.”

The TSPLOST will go into effect this September.

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