ATLANTA – The state could spend $3 billion or more on transportation over the next decade under a proposal Gov. Sonny Perdue floated today.
“The question has not been whether to invest in transportation, but whether or not we could get a return on transportation investment that the people of Georgia could support,” Perdue said in a statement.
Under the proposal, there would be 12 special tax districts for transportation statewide. In 2010, voters in each region will have the opportunity to vote for or against a 1 percent sales tax to be used to fund transportation improvements.
“These district lines are important because they recognize our state’s regional business centers, and the areas from which those centers draw consumers,” Perdue said. “This approach will mean dollars spent in a region remain in that region, and the projects will benefit the entire region.”
In addition, Perdue said he plans to include $300 million in bond projects in the Fiscal Year 2011 budget, which starts July 1. Money from the state’s general funds, not revenues collected from motor fuel taxes, would be used to repay the bonds, and Perdue hopes future governors will include $300 million in bonds each year for the next decade.
“This is the ultimate accountability system, the DOT will be responsible for delivering projects, and the legislature will answer to the voting taxpayers in deciding whether to continue making these investments,” Perdue said.
State Sen. Jeff Mullis, R-Chickamauga, chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee, said “a transportation plan for our great state is a critical step to continue moving Georgia forward.”
“Providing a transportation plan for our great state is a critical step to continue moving Georgia forward,” Mullis said in a statement. “It is of vital importance that we maintain and improve existing roads and transit systems and implement transportation projects. These services will provide needed congestion relief and prepare Georgia for future growth in both population and economic development while creating new jobs and revenue streams for transportation funding.”