City of Fitzgerald
Located in south central Georgia, Fitzgerald and the surrounding Ben Hill County area is a small rural community. In 2008, Ben Hill County had a poverty rate of 23.2%. Locally, residents had been organizing around the issue of transportation for nearly two years, before starting to work with the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities as part of Real Communities in 2009. In Fitzgerald and Ben Hill County, there were very few options for transportation outside of privately owned vehicles, which greatly limited the opportunities for recreation and social activities, medical access, educational and employment opportunities and even many everyday errands. Additionally, due to the poor transportation, an individual using a wheelchair was killed by a motorist while trying to travel on a street with no sidewalks. Transportation impacts all who live in an area, regardless of disability. As part of its Real Communities Initiative, in July 2010, Ben Hill County and the City of Fitzgerald successfully passed a Special-Purpose Local-Option Sales Tax (SPLOST), which included $250,000 specifically earmarked to provide seed funding for a small-scale public transportation system.