Cagle: Transportation sales tax could pass

Rainier Ehrhardt/Staff
Casey Cagle: Lieutenant governor says there is some support for a sales tax to fund transportation projects.

ATLANTA --- A local sales tax for roads and commuter rail could pass this year in addition to some type of cap on property taxes, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle said Thursday.

He was less positive about a proposal by House Speaker Glenn Richardson, R-Hiram, to replace the homeowner's share of property taxes dedicated to schools for an expanded sales tax that would include services and food.

Mr. Cagle said the Senate he presides over would likely approve a constitutional amendment for November voter consideration that would allow individual communities or groups of communities to raise a sales tax for transportation, nicknamed T-SPLOST for transportation special purpose local option sales tax.

It's a concept pushed last year by developers, environmentalists and business organizations looking for solutions to traffic congestion and ways to create a commuter-rail network.

"I sense there is some support," Mr. Cagle said.

If the constitutional amendment is approved by the Legislature and voters, a bill setting the mechanism for the tax would probably be introduced next year after a reorganization of the state Department of Transportation is complete. The Republican leadership is leery of adding more money to an agency before it's management problems are solved.

"It's a question of what's doable," Mr. Cagle said.