(The Center Square) — Barrow County leaders and their counterparts in the county’s six cities have agreed to divvy the proceeds of Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax should voters approve it in November.
The five-year tax is expected to raise an estimated $130 million over five years. The bulk of the money — roughly $94.2 million — would go to Barrow County, while the county seat of Winder would receive roughly $18.6 million.
In a news release, Mayor Pro Tem Travis Singley said the money would be “transformational” for the city.
“Six of the main thoroughfares through Winder are State Routes, and we can’t confuse City streets with state highways, we must collaborate with DOT for future projects on those,” At-Large Councilmember Shannon Hammond said in a release. “However, our City streets need attention. Dedicated funding will allow us to deliver on more resurfacing projects on our 95 miles of City streets.”
The cities of Auburn (6.43%), Statham (3.37%), Braselton (1.57%), Bethlehem (1.27%) and Carl (0.55%) will split the remaining money.
Elsewhere in Georgia, Cobb County commissioners are mulling a Mobility SPLOST to fund a 30-year, $4.5 billion bus rapid transit plan. A 1% SPLOST could generate $10.9 billion in tax revenue for the county over 30 years, and county officials could seek to leverage additional federal dollars.
County commissioners could also ask voters to approve a shorter plan when they head to the polls in November 2024.
“These scenarios … do include $900 million of bonding … that would be paid off with revenue collected through that program [to] allow for a faster delivery, a larger capital program delivery very, very quickly,” Cobb County Department of Transportation Director Drew Raessler said during a commission work session. “The duration of it [will] be used to pay down those bonds and to operate the system.
“…What we’ve put together here is, generally within that 10 years, build it as quick as we possibly can and make good on anything that the voters have approved,” Raessler added. “And then for the remaining 20 years, allow for the operation of that system so that that system can continue to operate in the future generations.”
By T.A. DeFeo | The Center Square contributor