Georgia Referendum 1, the Sales Tax Increase to Fund Transportation Projects Referendum (TSPLOST) failed to pass in 9 out of 12 regions of the state.
TSPLOST, if passed, “…would have funded $8.5 billion in transportation improvements through a regional one percent sales tax.”
In 2010, the Georgia State Legislature passed the Transportation Investment Act of 2010 (TIA 2010) in order to provide “…a legal mechanism in which regions throughout the state have the ability to impose a 1% sales tax to fund needed transportation improvements within their region.”
TIA 2010 “…established 12 transportation districts throughout Georgia that follow state designated Regional Commission (RC) boundaries,” as well as Regional Transportation Roundtables (RTRs) with elected officials from the counties and cities in each region. The RTRs developed the list of improvement projects.
If the vote in a region passes the TSPLOST, then “[n]o counties or municipalities are permitted to be exempt from the tax….”
Projects listed include interchange improvements, enhanced services for persons with disabilities, bus services, bridge replacements and traffic improvements.
- Northwest Georgia – No – by nearly 68%
- Georgia Mountains – No – by nearly 75%
- Atlanta Regional – No – by nearly 63%
- Three Rivers – No – by nearly 70%
- Northeast Georgia – No – by nearly 65%
- Middle Georgia – No – by just over 56%
- Central Savannah River Area – Yes – by nearly 54%
- River Valley – Yes – by just over 54%
- Heart of Georgia Altamaha – Yes – by nearly 52%
- Southwest Georgia – No by nearly 57%
- Southern Georgia – No – by nearly 58%
- Coastal Georgia – No – by nearly 58%
The tax increase does not apply to a district that has voted to not enact the sales tax increase.
According to Ballotpedia, the Georgia House of Representatives “…introduced HB 938…[that]…[i]f enacted…would void the sales tax referendum, and instead, place a constitutional amendment on the November ballot asking voters whether or not regional sales taxes for transportation purposes should be authorized. The bill then outlines a plan under which any two or more counties contiguous to each other could draft a transportation sales tax proposal, which would then be put to the voters in each county as a referendum.”
The Bill puts it like this:
…to provide for an up to 1 percent local sales tax to be used to fund transportation projects in special transportation districts within this state; to provide for the creation of such districts, the governance thereof, and the development of a list of transportation projects for the district; to provide for an approval process; to provide that counties may opt out of a district under specified circumstances; to provide for counties to pass a resolution calling for a referendum within the district to approve the levy of the tax;
The law is intended to “repeal conflicting laws” and last action was “House Second Readers.”