Transportation Funding Act Provides More Than $1 Billion for New Infrastructure in Atlanta
Atlanta, Ga. – February 16, 2015 - State Representative Jay Roberts announced on Jan. 29th the Transportation Funding Act of 2015. This legislation addresses Georgia’s critical transportation infrastructure needs and provides more than $1 billion in new transportation funding without a tax increase.
“Thursday morning, House Transportation Chairman Jay Roberts and others will introduce legislation which we believe will lead to bringing our state into the 21st century with our transportation policy.” said Speaker of the House David Ralston. “I expect the bill to be thoroughly vetted as it goes through the legislative process. We welcome constructive discussion and debate. But the time to begin the process is now.”
“There has been a need for legislation to address our state’s transportation needs for several years now, and we can no longer ignore it,” said Rep. Roberts. “Throughout 2014 my colleagues and I who served on the Joint Study Committee on Critical Transportation Infrastructure Funding traveled to all areas of the state to get feedback on local and regional transportation needs. We have studied how to fund transportation in our state going forward, and I believe that this bill provides the best solution. I am proud to introduce this plan that does not involve a tax increase for our citizens. This is the beginning of a process and we are listening to any and all suggestions.”
The Transportation Funding Act of 2015 is a comprehensive package of measures including converting the sales tax on motor fuel to an excise tax to 29.2 cents per gallon which will result in an additional $60 million to the state. There is also a conversion from the tax going to the state’s general fund to funding for transportation needs.
Local governments will be able to charge an additional excise tax of up to 6 cents per gallon (up to 3 cents for counties and up to 3 cents for cities) for local transportation projects by a vote of their county commission and/or city council.
Alternative fueled vehicles will pay a user fee of $200 for non-commercial and $300 for commercial vehicles each year. As these vehicles do not use gasoline, their owners do not currently pay their share of taxes devoted to the maintenance of the roads they use. This will provide equity among those who drive on our roads and ensure everyone pays their fair share.
The Georgia Department of Transportation is set to spend the largest amount in Georgia history to help ease metro Atlanta traffic. Most of the $1 billion project will focus will be on providing relief on where Interstate 285 and Georgia 400 come together.
“It will eventually be the largest in GDOT history,” said GDOT Project Manager Marlow Clowers. The Perimeter Mall just north of the city is a major part of this project, GDOT execs said.
“It’s become a hub for major employment, so we’ve got to have this gateway to improve” Perimeter CID president Yvonne Williams told the station.”We’re going to minimize those as much as we can, but there will be some,” Clowers said.
Scheduled to be completed in three years, GDOT says the construction will save drivers an average of eight hours of commuting time a year.