A Sept. 6 story in the Savannah Morning News, “Regional body considering transportation tax projects Wednesday,” contains an interesting quote from a Georgia Department of Transportation official describing why the Coastal Georgia Greenway does not qualify for TSPLOST funding:
David Spear, spokesman for the department, said the tax is meant to fund transportation projects and the bike trail did not qualify because it was “purely recreational in nature.”
This is, of course, untrue as CGG leader Jo Claire Hickson points out. As in other parts of the country, where similar facilities have been built, they are used by commuters and are never “purely recreational.”
Sill, Spear’s quote got me thinking. If trips that are “purely recreational” are not appropriate uses, then a lot of traffic should be banned from roads and bridges that would be funded by TSPLOST. Recreational vehicles would be prohibited from using transportation facilities, right? After all, their purpose is “purely recreational.” It’s right there in the name of the thing. Passenger cars carrying families on vacation or even local folks heading to a picnic in Daffiin Park or a day on Tybee could be excluded, too. Again, these trips are “purely recreational” in nature. Savannah would lose millions of visitors and the local tourism industry would evaporate overnight, but at least we can be confident that TSPLOST funding won’t be wasted to facilitate “purely recreational” trips.