VALDOSTA — A proposed regional tax for transportation improvements has gained enough support from county governments to warrant a public vote.
Even though the Lowndes County Commission delayed a vote on the regional T-SPLOST at its last meeting due to local confusion on the one-penny sales tax, enough counties in the area now support the tax (10 out of 18 were needed) to move it forward to a public vote even without the commission’s approval.
In the coming weeks, a regional roundtable of government representatives will determine when the public vote will take place, the projected revenue from the tax and what projects the tax would fund if passed.
If approved, the one-penny sales tax would last for 10 years and cover projects such as road and bridge repairs, safety improvements, sidewalk construction, traffic signal upgrades and possibly even projects related to trains and air travel.
A 2015 state law is what allows counties to collectively initiate a regional T-SPLOST. Locally, such a tax would bump sales taxes up to eight cents on the dollar.
City Manager Larry Hanson said local governments will have to negotiate what projects the tax would fund in each county and city.
He added that the Valdosta City Council will meet Tuesday, April 18, to discuss what projects the city will push to get funded, a list that could include public transit options and wireless technology for local traffic lights.
Even if voters shoot down the regional T-SPLOST, counties will have the option to call another vote for an individual T-SPLOST.