Georgia counties to decide this fall on transportation tax

September 1, 2021

Keith Goble

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Voters in counties around Georgia will decide this fall whether to authorize or renew a transportation tax.

Ballot questions in multiple locales will ask voters whether to approve a 1% tax that would be used solely for local infrastructure.

The funding would come from the Transportation Local Option Sales Tax. The state created the tax option for purposes that include roads, bridges, public transit, and seaports.

According to the Georgia Department of Revenue, 96 of the state’s 159 counties have enacted the transportation sales tax.

Below is a sampling of counties that will include the question on Nov. 2 ballots.

Henry County

The ballot in Henry County will include a referendum to cover improvements to local infrastructure.

The five-year, 1% tax is estimated to raise $245 million. Money would be distributed among the county and four municipalities under a predetermined formula to address approved project lists.

The county southeast of Atlanta now collects a 7% sales tax.

Most of the new tax revenue – 69% – would stay with the county. The cities of Hampton and Locust Grove would collect about 3.5%. The city of McDonough would get about 11% and the city of Stockbridge would get nearly 13%.

Monroe County

Citizens in Monroe County will vote for the second time in as many years whether to implement the 1% tax for local infrastructure. The county now collects a 7% sales tax.

In 2020, voters rejected the proposed tax by a 51-49% margin. Hopeful there is enough support for passage this time around, county commissioners recently voted to add a question to the upcoming fall ballot to impose the penny tax.

The tax is estimated to generate about $17 million over five years. The bulk of the revenue – $14.1 million – would go to the county located northwest of Macon. The city of Forsyth would receive $2.6 million and the city of Culloden would collect $305,000 over that time period.

Oconee County

Voters in Oconee County also will decide on the tax to cover improvements to local infrastructure.

The transportation sales tax referendum in the county located south of Athens would authorize a 1% tax solely for transportation purposes. The county now collects a 7% sales tax.
Addition of the tax is estimated to raise up to $56 million over five years. The county would receive about $48 million. Cities would divvy up the rest of the revenue.

At least 30% of sales tax revenue must be used for projects consistent with the state’s strategic transportation plan.

Peach County

Ballots on Peach County will include a question to add 1% to the existing 7% sales tax for transportation work.

The new revenue would raise about $27 million over five years.

Fulton County

The fall election in Fulton County will include a question about whether to renew the five-year, 1% tax.

Collection of the existing tax is scheduled to sunset in March 2022. In order to keep the funding stream active, county commissioners recently voted to pursue renewal of the tax that is estimated to raise $546 million over five years.

The tax is collected in all 15 Fulton cities except Atlanta. The state’s most populous city has its own transportation local option sales tax.

The county tax collected outside of Atlanta provides funds for city- and transit-related transportation projects. The county’s overall sales tax is 7.75%.

Renewal of the tax would not include funding for transit.

Commissioners opted not to include transit because of concerns that voters would not agree to approve the extension of the tax. Residents have complained about how transit is run in recent years in the county. LL

More election coverage

Keith Goble, state legislative editor for Land Line Media, keeps track of transportation ballot questions across the U.S. Here are some recent articles by him.

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Keith Goble has been covering trucking-related laws since 2000. His daily web reports, radio news and “OOIDA’s State Watch” in Land Line Magazine are the industry’s premier sources for information regarding state legislative affairs.