Walker County Government will ask for a special referendum election to be held on May 24 to keep the Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (TSPLOST) in place.
The one-penny sales tax began April 1, 2018, after Walker County voters overwhelmingly approved the measure in 2017. The current single county TSPLOST was set to expire on March 31, 2023 or after $25 million has been raised, whichever came first. The County estimates the $25 million mark will be reached early, due in part to the passage of a new law in 2020 that required marketplaces like eBay and Amazon to start collecting sales tax on third party sales.
TSPLOST funds can only be used for transportation purposes. Walker County has focused these dollars on repairing and resurfacing roads, along with some bridge work.
There are 674 miles of roads in unincorporated Walker County. As of December 31, 2021, nearly 120-miles of county roads have been improved thanks to TSPLOST, with additional roadwork being planned in 2022.
The cities of Chickamauga, Fort Oglethorpe, LaFayette, Lookout Mountain and Rossville also benefit directly from TSPLOST. Each municipality receives a percentage of every penny collected to address their own projects. For example, Chickamauga has paved portions of nearly two dozen city streets and plans to resurface another 11 miles this year. Along with paving nearly 26% of city roads, Rossville has used TSPLOST to upgrade traffic signals, place a new sidewalk at McFarland Avenue and Maple Street and make improvements to equipment used at pedestrian crossings.
Renewing the TSPLOST would keep the current penny sales tax in place another five years, meaning consumers would not see a change when they make purchases. The new TSPLOST would kick in when the 2017 TSPLOST expires, likely on September 30, 2022. The County estimates up to $45 million could be generated for transportation improvements if voters approve a second round of TSPLOST.
To see a list of all county projects, visit walkercountyga.gov/tsplost.