Impact of Regional SPLOST on County Infrastructure

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Ross, Catherine L.
Woo, Myungje
Boston, Thomas
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In response to fiscal constraints on transportation funding and the need to address transportation problems and create regional solutions, Georgia is proposing a 1% regional Special-Purpose Local-Option Sales Tax (SPLOST). To accommodate this initiative, Georgia created 12 Special Tax Districts that will affect all Georgia counties. This research (1) provides information on the challenges that other regional initiatives have faced and the strategies utilized in gaining voter support for such initiatives; (2) identifies possible implications that arise from the relationship between existing county SPLOSTs and the proposed regional SPLOSTs; and (3) provides strategies for the successful implementation of this regional initiative by estimating the likelihood that county-specific sales tax referenda for transportation will succeed and by identifying the factors that influence voting outcomes. The study results show that the new regional SPLOSTs may bring minimal or no negative effect on county level transportation projects, since some of the proceeds from the regional SPLOSTs will also be earmarked for local transportation projects. However, the regional SPLOSTs, which propose only transportation projects, may negatively impact other new capital outlay projects at the local level, particularly when both education SPLOSTs and regional SPLOSTs are active in the same county. This implies that the competitive purposes of SPLOSTs will be more critical than those between county-specific and regional SPLOSTs.
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