Gov. Nathan Deal said Wednesday that the landmark transportation bill passed Tuesday night will give Georgia dedicated resources to maintain the state’s roads and bridges.
“Georgia’s legislators demonstrated leadership, foresight and courage last night as they took the tough but much needed steps to pay for our ever-growing transportation needs,” Deal said. “We faced obligations that could no longer be ignored, and current resources were simply not enough to preserve the infrastructure we need to get to work, to safely take children to school on buses and to keep the lifeblood of our economy pumping.
“Our state budget is able to meet our top priorities because we have a laser focus on creating and keeping good jobs in Georgia. Transportation is a huge point of concern for businesses that we court to Georgia, and addressing those needs is one of many tough tasks we must perform to rev up our jobs engine. In addition, this is simply a safety and quality-of-life issue for Georgians, who rightly want less time stuck in traffic and more time at home with their families.
“Unlike health care and education, there aren’t entitlement mandates that transportation spending keep up with the population growth in our state. The gasoline tax has long paid for our roads; it’s the most fair fee that you can create because those who use the roads are the ones who pay for them. But our gas tax has stayed the same since the early 1970s. Over that period of time, with inflation and the significant increase in fuel efficiency, drivers are paying significantly less per mile traveled. We not only lacked the resources for new transportation projects, but had also reached the point where we couldn’t afford to maintain the roads and bridges we already have.
“The benefits of these new projects will appear in full view. Georgians will soon see the road crews and the orange cones and smell the hot asphalt as it’s poured. That’s the short term. In the long term, they’ll drive on better roads and bridges, giving us not only a better ride but also peace of mind.
“I look forward to signing this legislation into law and seeing the Department of Transportation provide an excellent service to the people of this state.”