A proposed 1% sales tax would raise about $60 million for transportation projects in Walton County, officials said.
The Board of Commissioners approved a measure to put the tax before voters in the Nov. 3 general election. If passed, it would go into effect in April 2021 for five years, or until the $60 million is raised.
Chairman Kevin Little said the funding would leverage another $40 million in matching federal and state money, giving the county an even $100 million for transportation. Money would be split among the county and its seven cities.
Commissioner Mark Banks said he thinks the Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax, or T-SPLOST, would be a good way to solve one of the biggest complaints of citizens.
“I think that’s one of the biggest problems we all hear about is transportation — every commissioner and commission chairman, that’s probably No. 1,” the Loganville Republican said before voting for the resolution.
“And I think the best way to pay for it is to let the sales tax do it, rather than property tax.”
The most expensive project is $6.25 million for improvements to the Georgia 81 corridor. The state highway on the western side of the county extends from south of Loganville through Bold Springs.
There’s also $4 million for improvements to the intersection of Georgia 138 and Georgia 81 in Walnut Grove and $2.5 million each for widening Pleasant Valley Road and for improvements to Center Hill Church Road.
The county would get $7 million for a five-year asphalt patching, resurfacing and striping program.
Every city, and the county, would get money for miscellaneous road improvements, maintenance and construction.
The biggest project in Monroe is $1.8 million for improvements to the exit of U.S. 78 and North Broad Street (Georgia 11).
In all, Monroe would receive slightly less than $9.25 million, or a little more than 15% of the tax revenue.
Loganville stands to receive 10.2% of the money, or a little more than $6.1 million. Major projects there include $1.2 million for improvements to the intersection of Atlanta Highway and Loganville Town Centre, the shopping center that includes Publix.
The biggest single project in Loganville is the realignment and signalization of Rock Road, at a cost of just under $1.5 million.
Social Circle would receive a little over $3 million, with $500,000 each going for roundabouts on major intersections on the Social Circle Parkway (Georgia 11): at South Cherokee Road, East Hightower Trail and North Cherokee Road.
Little said he thinks the T-SPLOST “will be good for the county going forward” if it passes.
“There are a lot of transportation projects,” he said. “We’ve been meeting for a little over a year now with all the cities and we’ve got a lot of projects and a lot of things ready to go forward if this passes in November.”
Little called the initiative “Moving Walton” and said all of the county’s cities are on board.
“It’s really going to open up a lot of gridlock, especially in the city of Monroe and the city of Loganville, and it’ll give us a lot of opportunities to partner with DOT (the Department of Transportation) to open up a lot of their problem areas as well.”
Walton County shoppers currently pay 7 cents on the dollar in sales tax. That includes a 1% SPLOST, approved in 2018, and a 1% tax for education capital projects renewed in 2016. Both were voted in by wide margins.
Voters across Georgia considered regional T-SPLOST projects in 2012. Almost all failed at the ballot box, including the Northeast Georgia region that included Walton County.
Local voters rejected it by a margin of about 3-to-1.