Catoosa County voters turn down 1 percent tax increase to pay for bridge over train tracks

Image: NewsChannel 9 SkyCam

UPDATE (Tuesday evening):

Catoosa County election officials say a county-wide tax increase vote has failed, the purpose of which would have paid for a bridge over the Graysville Road train tracks.

The final results had 77.55% of votes for No on the tax, with only 22.45% of votes for Yes.

Unofficial final vote count as of Wednesday morning (8 provisional ballots still need to be processed):

  • Yes: 1399
  • No: 4833

PREVIOUSLY (Tuesday morning):

On Tuesday, voters will decide whether to increase the sales tax in Catoosa County.

They will be voting "yes" or "no" on a transportation special local option sales tax, also known as T-SPLOST. It means the county sales tax would increase by one percent. Right now, the current sales tax is 7 percent, and the new T-SPLOST would make it 8 percent.

The money would go toward road projects throughout the county, including one proposed for Graysville Road to build a bridge across railroad tracks.

For years, trains have caused major delays for anyone trying to get to East Brainerd Road from Graysville Road. Last week, Catoosa County Sheriff Gary Sisk told us the train delay often does not just hamper drivers, but also prevents emergency vehicles from getting to where they need to be.

"It's a pretty big undertaking, for that problem, but what price do you put on emergency assistance and possibly someone's life?" Sheriff Sisk told us.

The revenues from T-SPLOST would be shared between Catoosa County, Ringgold and Fort Oglethorpe.

If passed, commissioners say the money from the sales tax increase would help with paving roads or projects like bridge repairs, walking trails and storm drainage.

Local officials say this is the chance to give attention to what they say are infrastructure needs.

They expect the new tax would generate around $60 million in revenue over 5 years.

"We have had a bus loaded with students be stuck at the crossing for almost two hours in the past when mechanical difficulties are happening at the tracks," said Catoosa County Schools Superintendent Denia Reese.

Depend on NewsChannel 9 to keep you posted. Once the votes are counted, this story will be updated.

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