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More Sales Tax, Better Transportation


 Utah and other states need more sales tax revenue for transportation.

There is a growing movement in this country to fund transportation projects with local sales taxes. During last week's elections, residents of numerous states voted in favor of paying more sales tax to improve transportation. However, support is not universal; voters in a few areas did reject transportation sales taxes.

Arizona

Voters in Phoenix Arizona approved an expanded transportation sales tax in August of this year. Proposition 104 increases the current transportation sales tax from 0.4% to 0.7% and extends it to 2051 (previously it was set to expire in 2020). The new rate takes effect in 2016.

Colorado

Residents of both Colorado Springs and Greeley voted in favor of local transportation sales taxes on November 3, 2015. Greeley taxes will increase by 0.65% and Colorado Springs taxes will jump by 0.62% on January 1, 2016.

Texas

More than 83% of Texans approved the Texas Sales and Use Tax Revenue for Transportation Amendment, Proposition 7. While it does not increase the sales tax rate, it does increase the amount of sales tax revenue dedicated to the state highway fund.

Utah

Utah’s Unified Transportation Plan has a funding shortfall; as a result, voters throughout the state were asked on November 3 to approve a 0.25% general sales tax for transportation (effective January 1, 2016). Preliminary results were mixed in the 17 counties that proposed the sales tax increase:

  • Beaver County: failed
  • Box Elder: failed
  • Carbon County: passed
  • Davis County: passed
  • Duchesne County: passed
  • Grand County: passed
  • Juab County: failed
  • Morgan County: failed
  • Rich County: passed
  • Salt Lake County: appears to be failing but too close to call
  • San Juan County: passed
  • Sanpete County: passed
  • Sevier County: passed
  • Tooele County: passed
  • Uintah County: failed
  • Utah County: failed
  • Weber County: passed

Washington

The people of Western Washington are feeling good about funding transportation projects with additional sales tax revenue. Maybe this has something to do with the fact that the Seattle area has some of the worst traffic in the nation.

  • Proposition 1 is passing in Snohomish County, Washington. The measure increases sales tax by three tenths of one percent (0.3%) and is expected to generate approximately $25 million annually for transportation improvements such as expanded transit.
  • Proposition A in Tacoma is also passing. It authorizes a sales and use tax of one tenth of one percent (0.01%) for ten years beginning January 1, 2016. Funds generated by the tax will fund maintenance, preservation, and improvements for residential streets, arterials, freight access, and bike and pedestrian mobility projects.

See more Washington November 3, 2015, election results here.

Down the road

The following areas are considering measures for the November 2016 election that would increase sales tax to fund various transportation improvements:

For local accurate local sales tax rates in all states, check out this free sales tax rate map.


Gail Cole
Avalara Author
Gail Cole
Gail Cole
Avalara Author Gail Cole
Gail began researching and writing about sales tax in 2012 and has been fascinated with it ever since. She has a penchant for uncovering unusual tax facts, and endeavors to make complex sales tax laws more digestible for both experts and laypeople.