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Transportation Bill: More of the Same, with a Bit Less Money

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Like an Atlantan deciding to exit The Connector from the left lane, the Georgia Legislature passed a sweeping transportation bill in the 11th hour this week. When signed by Gov. Nathan Deal, the bill will fund nearly $900 million worth of infrastructural projects, chiefly roads and bridges, per year. The AJC reports the gub'ner hailed the courage of the General Assembly in passing the bill, which doesn't even meet the goals he and other GOP leaders initially laid out — they had hoped for more than $1 billion in annual funding. The funds will be channeled toward maintenance of existing infrastructure, which the governor anticipates will allow Georgia to avoid being "a state that's behind the curve." Nothing says cutting-edge like structurally sound bridges.

The bill is a slightly modified version of the one passed by the House last month, though not surprisingly, tax-incentive cuts and fee impositions on alternative-fuel vehicle owners survived. Transit did not; while the bill doesn't fund any public transit, on the bright side it doesn't expressly ban a portion of the money from possibly being delegated to it. That's the closest thing transit proponents will see to a victory any time soon in Georgia.

Woo-hoo!

In general, Georgians can anticipate a 10-cent-per-gallon increase in gas prices when the bill takes effect. Alternative fuel vehicle owners will pay a $200 annual fee — far exceeding similar fees in any other state, according to the AJC — with commercial entities owing $300. A little bonus in the final iteration of the bill: Extra revenue will be generated from a $5 hotel tax, because it's more fun to take money from people who aren't locals.

· Georgia's new transportation bill: 5 takeaways [AJC; subscriber]
· Nathan Deal on transportation: 'This was the one bite at the apple' [AJC]
· Billion Dollar Bill Moves Forward. Will Transit Tag Along? [Curbed Atlanta]
· Transportation Bill Moves Forward: So What Do You Think?