Augusta shoppers will pay an extra penny on every dollar starting today as collections begin for a new sales tax to fund special transportation projects over the next decade.
Forty-six Georgia counties are affected by the new 1 percent regional sales tax for transportation projects that was approved by voters on a July 31 referendum. Georgia was divided into 12 voting regions, and nine rejected the idea.
In Richmond County, the sales tax rises from 7 to 8 percent. The extra revenue, projected at $848 million in Richmond County’s voting region, will be spent locally and regionally to widen highways, fix bridges, install new traffic lights and maintain roads.
“The result of your vote will be felt within the first quarter of the year as we see these projects begin,” said Don Grantham, the Georgia Department of Transportation District 10 representative.
The first improvements to get underway will likely be smaller, less costly construction projects such as resurfacing, sidewalks and safety improvements. The first month’s revenue won’t be allocated to cities and counties until March 1.
In the Augusta area, work will continue on Windsor Spring Road, Ga. Highway 56 and Wrightsboro Road using revenue from the tax, Grantham said. The widening and realignment of Berckmans Road is also expected within the next three years.
The sales tax for transportation will not apply to sales of fuel for cars, airplanes or off-road equipment. It only applies to the first $5,000 of any sale or lease of a motor vehicle.
The 1 percent increase also kicks in for Burke, Columbia, Glascock, Hancock, Jefferson, Jenkins, Lincoln, McDuffie, Taliaferro, Warren, Washington and Wilkes counties. The sales tax rises to 8 percent for each county except Burke, which increases to 7 percent.