TSPLOST voted down in Chatham County

Published: Nov. 9, 2022 at 6:30 PM EST
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CHATHAM COUNTY, Ga. (WTOC) - Majority of Chatham County voters voted no for a Transportation Special Purpose Sales Tax that would have allocated money to fixing roads and other project in our area.

The referendum only failed by nearly 1,400 votes and more than 102,000 votes were counted.

It’s no secret that West Chatham areas like Pooler have major traffic issues so Pooler leaders say they’re disappointed that people living here didn’t vote for TSPLOST because TSPLOST would have helped fund several transportation projects like widening Benton Blvd. and Pooler Pkwy.

“Don’t complain about traffic or bad road conditions because we needed that money for road projects and it was designated for those certain projects. We weren’t taking it to use somewhere else,” said Pooler Mayor Rebecca Benton.

Over five years, TSPLOST would provided $420 million to matched additional funds for projects like fixing the I-95 interchange near the airport that sees a lot of traffic.

It’s a 1% sales tax on goods and services.

Pooler Mayor Rebecca Benton says they will find a way to get the projects done but it will certainly take longer.

“But the only other way to fund this would be from property taxes. Now, we will look for other sources of revenue but it’ll be a long time coming and they’re needed now.”

Chatham County Chairman Chester Ellis has held several town meetings to explain benefits of TSPLOST. He said it was important it passed because West Chatham is going to be even more packed after the Hyundai Plant is up and running.

“I was disappointed that TSPLOST did not pass because knowing the impact of what’s coming,” Chairman Ellis.

According to the Chatham County elections website, many of the no votes came from people living in West Chatham. He says he wishes they did a better job at getting the word out, despite it being illegal for Chatham County to advertise for the referendum.

“The place that we didn’t get the message out as well as we should have is the area that’s affected the most and that’s West side.”

He has said several times that property taxes could go up if TSPLOST failed but now says they will seek grants and government funding to get the projects done. It just might take longer than expected.