Track and Quotes

Show Shipment Information - Track and Trace PackageTrack and Trace
Get a Shipping Rate QuoteRate Quote

Georgia Transportation Funding Deal Could be Near
Friday, 12 February 2010 00:00

In hopes of curbing traffic congestion and other concerns related to transportation, Georgia legislative leaders appear to be nearing a deal on a funding plan that would let residents vote to tax themselves to pay for needed improvements.

Gov. Sonny Perdue also wants to borrow $300 million a year to benefit freight movement throughout the state.

The Republican governor and leading lawmakers in the statehouse announced they are moving forward with a proposal that would have regions decide whether to increase the 4-cent sales tax by one penny to pay for road and other infrastructure work. If approved by lawmakers, voters would have the final say in the 2012 presidential primary.

Getting transportation funding legislation through the statehouse has been difficult the past couple of years. The Georgia House and Senate, which are led by Republicans, have been divided on how to come up with the money to pay for projects. The stumbling block has been whether the tax should be regional or statewide.

The latest proposal would permit regions that vote in favor of the tax to spend money on local projects. Others rejecting the increase would not get any additional funding.

“This approach will mean dollars spent in a region remain in that region, and the projects will benefit the entire region,” Perdue said in a statement.

Lawmakers would have to sign off on the projects getting the funds. After eight years, voters would have to decide whether to renew the tax.

While Perdue and Republican leaders are making plans to unveil their initiative, Democrats are calling for a quicker outcome that they say is needed to address the state’s ailing transportation system.

The governor has indicated he is weary of pushing for the tax increase in the middle of a struggling economy.

Perdue is also pursuing a plan to issue $300 million a year in bonds that would help move freight across the state. He wants lawmakers to approve a bond package for 10 years for a total of $3 billion.

The plan’s key component is improving the flow of trucks into and out of the Port of Savannah. The governor is hopeful of making upgrades at the nation’s fastest-growing container port in time for a major widening of the Panama Canal, due for completion in 2014.

The bonds would be repaid using state general funds.

Land Line Magazine, 2/12/2010