This is especially significant given the current state of the Highway Trust Fund. Hopefully the money that was found via motor fuels tax reserves and $130m in bonding does not place too much more of a burden on the debt service for GDOT. It’s already at ~$250 million a year. Here’s the full press release.
Governor: Approved changes allow Georgia to advance construction phase for Perimeter project
Gov. Nathan Deal today announced a state commitment to fully fund improvements to the I-285/Ga. 400 interchange, a project of statewide significance. Deal and Georgia Department of Transportation board members approved the sale of $130 million in previously authorized bonds and the use of $81.5 million in accrued state motor fuel funds to accelerate the process of reconstructing the I-285/Ga. 400 interchange.
“We are currently utilizing all the tools that the state has available — accrued motor fuel revenues, authorized bonds, Georgia’s AAA bond rating and an improving schedule of debt payments — to facilitate major transportation projects,” said Deal. “This interchange is one of the most congested intersections in the United States, and the time has come to bring much needed relief to commuters and area businesses. Improvements to the interchange will provide important economic and quality of life benefits and will expand Georgia’s role as a major logistics hub for global commerce.
“This funding plan will provide a stop gap measure that will allow us to continue working on Georgia’s transportation priorities as we wait on Washington to reauthorize the federal transportation bill.”
The nation’s current transportation authorization expires Sept. 30, but will run out of money this summer. Critical transportation projects are needed through the summer and into the fall, and this plan will allow the state to continue working on these projects. Additionally, the state needs to be ready to move as quickly as possible into the construction phase of I-285/Ga. 400 once the environmental approval occurs, currently on track for 2015.
“When federal funds start flowing to the state again, this plan will allow Georgia to advance the 285/400 project while minimizing the impact on the existing statewide transportation plan,” Deal said.
To complete the funding of the I-285/Ga. 400 interchange and Ga. 400 collector-distributor projects, GDOT will utilize a public-private partnership model similar to the recent I-75 Northwest Corridor project to spread payments across several years.
“The department is committed to working with the governor to deliver statewide projects that have great value and impact for our citizens as early as financially possible,” said GDOT Commissioner Keith Golden. “This step allows us the opportunity to keep Georgia moving forward through vital summer construction months, supports jobs for Georgians and enhances the long term commitment to our growing transportation system.”