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SLO County considering a new sales tax that could generate $35 million a year

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SLO County officials are considering a new sales tax that could raise about 35 million dollars a year for transportation projects like highway improvements, bike lanes and more.

They are gathering public input until early October.

The San Luis Obispo County Council of Governments (SLOCOG), says the county could face a $2.3 billion deficit for transportation projects in 23 years, and they’re looking into proposing a new sales tax to stop that from happening.

James Worthley is SLOCOG’s Planning Director. He said the county gets funding from the statewide gas tax to help fund its transportation projects, but there is not enough money coming in from that tax to meet the county’s needs.

“It's pretty obvious when you look around and see more and more EVS, and more hybrid cars on the roadway. Well, less gas used is great, unless you're funding transportation projects with it,” Worthley said.

Worthley said a new sales tax could raise close to a billion dollars over twenty years to help make up those transportation costs. But, he said SLOCOG still needs to review public comment to see if the tax is necessary, and how much it would be.

The tax would also need to be approved by SLO County’s Board of Supervisors and a majority of the city councils. Then, it would go on the ballot for the public to vote on in 2024’s general election.

County residents can comment on the tax here.

Gabriela Fernandez came to KCBX in May of 2022 as a general assignment reporter, and became news director in December of 2023. She graduated from Sacramento State with a BA in Political Science. During her senior year, she interned at CapRadio in their podcast department, and later worked for them as an associate producer on the TahoeLand podcast. When she's not writing or editing news stories, she loves to travel, play tennis and take her 140-lbs dog, Atlas, on long walks by the coast.
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