Representative Ed Lindsey was among those appointed today to the Joint Study Committee on Critical Infrastructure Funding for Georgia. Representative Lindsey is not running for re-election, and as was appointed by Speaker Ralston to serve in a “civilian” capacity. As such, he is resigning his office effective today. Representative Lindsey’s statement is included at the end of this post.
Others named to the committee are:
Joint Study Committee on Critical Transportation Infrastructure Funding (HR 1573)
Senator Steve Gooch, Co-Chair Representative Jay Roberts, Co-Chair
Senator Brandon Beach
Representative Jon Burns
Senator Tyler Harper
Representative Terry England
Senator Jack Hill
Representative Mark Hamilton
Senator David Lucas
Representative Calvin Smyre
Steve Green, Savannah
Edward Lindsey, Atlanta
Those listed in italics were included by statute. Senators and Steve Green were appointed by Lt. Governor Cagle. Representatives, including Lindsey, were appointed by Speaker Ralston.
Representative Lindsey didn’t resign his seat to run for Congress, but he is willing to leave early to serve on this committee. That, my friends, is what we usually consider significant. We’re quite used to Study Committees designed to paper over problems or kick the can. In my capacity of Executive Director of PolicyBEST I can say that the legislators I’ve spoken with, some who are named above, are ready to figure out solutions to Georgia’s transportation funding problems.
We currently spend just 60% of what an average state spends on transportation infrastructure and are dead last in spending per capita as of 2011 figures. The current gas tax, as a user fee, is a diminishing asset. Just since 2007 the average car on the road is getting 25% higher miles per gallon. That’s 25% less user fee paid for the “roads we’ve already paid for”. The result is Georgia is the most reliant of any state for transportation funding from the Federal Government, with the vast majority of our funding going to maintenance and debt service. In short, we’re not funding infrastructure critical for the growth that we expect over the next quarter century.
This committee is charged with evaluating where we are, where we need to be, and making some tough choices in helping choose a direction for how we get there. Ed Lindsey thinks it serious enough to leave his position early. I hope the voters that choose to engage in this process approach the reality of where we are and the potential solutions to get us where we need to be with equal seriousness.
Representative Lindsey’s statement:
Dear Friends and Neighbors:
It has been my honor and privilege to have represented Buckhead, Sandy Springs, and Brookhaven for the past ten years and to have served as the Georgia House Majority Whip for three terms. I thank you all for giving me this great opportunity.
Today, I agreed to step down six months early as a State Representative in order to accept an appointment by Speaker David Ralston to a Joint Study Committee on Critical Transportation Funding Infrastructure for Georgia. Let me tell you why.
Transportation has been a key to our region’s successful past and is a critical concern for our future. In the 19th Century, we were created as a railroad hub. In the 20th Century, we made our great leap forward due in large part to the Atlanta International Airport. As a result, we continue to be viewed as an international magnate for new business and growth.
However, metropolitan areas – even historically great ones like Metro Atlanta – are perpetually either in a period of growth and greater prosperity or steady decline. There is no standing still. We either attack our problems head on and make a better future for ourselves and our children today, or sit back and watch our past successes slip away into the history books.
Our transportation challenge in the 21st Century is to avoid drowning in the commuter quagmire created by our earlier success and emerge with solutions that will take us to even greater heights on the national and international stage.
I wish to emphasize that under Georgia law my resignation will not require a special election since we have completed the second regular session of the 2013-14 term and I am not standing for re-election this November. I am pleased that I had the opportunity to complete my service to my constituents through this term’s regular sessions and it was important to me that my action today not triggers the cost of a special election.
My friend and colleague Representative Joe Wilkinson – who also represents part of Buckhead — has agreed that his office will take care of any constituent services residents in my district may need over the next few months until my successor is elected and sworn in. I hope that this arrangement will not inconvenience anyone in my community, but I believe I can best assist us at this time by serving on this important joint study committee.
As the work of this study committee gets under way, I will keep you posted on its progress and look forward to your input.
Take care and Happy 4th of July!