Georgia > Transportation Bill Unveiled

| January 31, 2015

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ATLANTA – House leaders in Atlanta have proposed raising more than $1 billion a year in additional transportation funds.  They say they can do it without a tax increase.

Legislation will call for replacing various components that make up the gasoline tax with a straight excise tax of 29.2 cents per gallon.  That figure equates to the combined state and local sales and excise tax average over the past four years.

Further, the bill would levy an annual fee on electric-, propane-, and natural gas-powered vehicles (but not hybrids) of $300 for commercial and $200 for non-commercial vehicles.  The so-called alternative-vehicle fee would raise a projected $7.5 million during the first year of collection.  This, plus $100 million in bond financing would pay for transit projects.

Lawmakers now believe transit’s time has come, over only focusing on asphalt and concrete to serve transportation needs.

The legislation would also raise funding to recapitalize the Georgia Transportation Infrastructure Bank, which provides loans to local governments for transit improvements and projects.

Potential issues related to its passing may come from part of the plan to fund about half the money ($500 million) for a new $0.06 a gallon local excise tax on gasoline.  This would be subject to approval locally, but would replace the current SPLOST initiatives many communities and local governments use to fund projects, when those SPLOST initiatives expire.  Lawmakers believe it may be a tough sell to get local communities to hand over their SPLOST money to state politicians and trust they will provide needed improvements.

Another issue is taking a penny from the current gas tax used for education and public safety and combining it with the rest of the tax funds to be replaced by the new excise tax.  That penny equates to $175 million a year in funding the general fund of the state.

Governor Nathan Deal has stated the bill is a “positive step forward” in addressing the issues facing transportation in Georgia.

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