Lt. Governor Casey Cagle and Senate Leadership: General Assembly Close to Transportation Funding Solution

March 23, 2009

Lt. Governor Casey Cagle, President Pro Tempore Tommie Williams, Majority Leader Chip Rogers and Transportation Chairman Jeff Mullis commended today’s passage of H.B. 277 and H.R. 206, which were substituted with the Senate’s preferred Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (TSPLOST) bill and Constitutional Amendment. 

“The fact that the Senate has twice approved a transportation funding solution this session sends a strong message.  With today’s vote, we are very close to finally getting a transportation funding option to the voters of Georgia.  We are hopeful that the House will agree to this bill and allow Georgians to soon decide how they want their transportation dollars spent.  

“Our statewide, regional approach is a flexible and optional solution and allows for true local input and influence of transportation projects.  Just as our state has many diverse transportation needs, a funding mechanism should respect the diverse regional needs.  We have waited long enough to address our state’s transportation infrastructure and we look forward to putting this before Georgia voters for their input,” said Cagle.

Today marks the second time the Senate has voted in favor of a transportation funding solution. If the House of Representatives will agree to this piece of legislation, the General Assembly will bring a transportation funding solution before the voters and will be free to dedicate the remaining five days of session to other important issues, including the budget.

The bill creates only one defined 10-county region in Metro Atlanta while the rest of the state can either move forward as a single county or band together voluntarily with two or more counties to meet regional transportation needs. After regional districts select a project list, and local governments decide to move forward, the vote would then go before the local citizens in the next election available for SPLOST.  Should voters approve the funding, this plan would generate up to $850 million annually in Metro Atlanta and up to $1.2 billion annually for the entire state.

A regional approach to transportation funding has been endorsed by many organizations, including:

Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce

Henry County Chamber of Commerce

Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce

Forsyth County Chamber of Commerce

Savannah Chamber of Commerce

North Fulton Community Improvement District

Atlanta Regional Commission

Hall County Government Board of Commissioners

Southern Environmental Law Center

Georgia Public Transportation Coalition

The Georgia Transit Association

City of Flowery Branch

City of Gainesville