Georgia House Leadership Releases Transportation Funding Plan

Georgia House leaders are releasing details of the bill they will introduce to address Georgia’s statewide transportation infrastructure deficit, and the funding sources they intend to tap in order to address the problem.

Restructures Gas Tax:

The plan features a transition to change the formula from the current fixed 7.5 cents excise tax plus sales taxes to tax with a fixed excise tax of 29.2 cents, which by Georgia’s constitution is required to be allocated to GDOT. This number represents the average motor fuel tax Georgians have paid over the past four years, and thus is revenue neutral.

Currently Georgia’s sales tax on motor fuel breaks down as follows:

3% of sale goes to GDOT, which is required by our constitution to use the money on roads and bridges.

1% of the sale goes to the state’s general budget for non-transportation uses.

1-4% is taxed locally by referendum and may or may not be used for transportation uses.

By shifting these taxes from other sources to GDOT, roughly $800M currently taxed as a “user fee” will more closely match the source to use. In addition, Georgia currently loses out from long haul truck drivers who remit taxes to states based on excise taxes paid versus miles driven in each state. By shifting sales taxes to excise taxes, Georgia will reap an estimated $60M windfall from this program.

Preserves local revenues during transition:

In order to ease the burden of transition to local governments, taxes currently being collected locally on existing local option taxes may be grandfathered until the expiration of the existing SPLOST. Going forward, new SPLOSTS will not include motor fuels as part of their sales tax base.

Maintains adequate user fees going forward:

Because the value of the gas tax has been declining as fuel efficiency increases, the gas tax will be indexed annually going forward to CAFÉ standards – the fuel efficiency of cars on the road. By making the tax purely a flat excise tax, the volatility of the tax increasing while gas prices increase is removed.

New pathway for local funding:

In order to maintain local flexibility and control, counties and cities will each have the right to place up to 3 cents/gallon by vote of a city council or county commission. If the local governments wish to place additional cents on sales of gasoline a referendum from the local voters would be required.

All proceeds raised locally under this option would be required to be used on transportation projects. This would help counties and cities focus on local priorities, either on their own or by partnering with the state for major improvements, as Forsyth County recently did to expand GA 400 using a local bond referendum.

Transit & The Environment:

This money is also a direct pathway to additional investment in transit. Fulton, DeKalb, and Clayton Counties have already authorized a 1% sales tax to fund transit, but the current funding provides little left over for major expansion projects. Voters are also understandably reluctant to contribute an additional 1% for more transit when they already face the state’s highest 7-8% tax rates. Local gas taxes on top of the state excise tax may provide the needed avenue for MARTA to find the funding for the Clifton Corridor, South DeKalb, and/or North Line extensions currently being studied.

In keeping with the spirit of “user fees” to fund transportation, those driving alternative fuel vehicles will pay an annual fee. Passenger cars running of purely electric or CNG power would pay a $200 fee. Commercial vehicles would be assessed $300 annually.

The fees from these tags are to be earmarked to transit.

A new bond package to jump start projects with immediate funding:

The plan recognizes both a larger need but acquiesces to limited revenue. Thus, leaders are also committing to a “substantial” bond package to jump start priorities. These funds will be divided into three categories:

  • Critical Bridge Maintenance
  • Transit
  • Other essential transportation projects

It is presumed that the bond service debt for this new package will be paid out of the existing general fund rather than further saddle GDOT with a greater debt service burden. It should also be noted that Georgia is one of only a handful of states that continues to maintain a AAA rating from all major rating agencies.

Other tweaks to existing programs include expansion of the local match “LMIG” program, and the funding of a state sponsored infrastructure bank. Both of these items will further allow local governments to leverage their existing dollars with GDOT priorities.

Off the cuff assessment:

1) It’s an excellent step towards unwinding Georgia’s haphazard structure of how we finance roads & bridges. Georgia is currently last in highway spending per capita (2011 Brookings Institution study) despite having a gas tax that is roughly average. This is because we redirect roughly twelve cents per gallon from gas taxes to the state’s general fund or local, often non-transportation uses.

2) The amount of money raised is a significant improvement, but this package alone will not “fix” the state’s transportation problems. This is a lifeline, not a long term cure all. The transportation study committee found a need for between $2-3 Billion for a package that would address most current and future needs, suggesting almost $5 Billion annually for a “full universe” of infrastructure including rail.

This amount of money would allow us to get back to a normal maintenance schedule plus a small-medium project per year, annually. The local gas tax, such is used in Florida with a $.12/gallon cap, helps bridge the gap a bit. But this package alone is not a total panacea. It does, however, reside heavily in the world of the possible.

3) Transit is fully acknowledged, with a plan to move forward with a state role. There’s a new creative option for local revenues, Fees to be directed for transit with a state budget line item, and funds coming from a bond package to kickstart some sort of transit project(s). Given that just a couple of years ago no statewide elected Republican would even mention the word positively, transit advocates should appreciate the trend.

4) There still need to be changes to current referendum structures to allow for:

  • “Fractional penny” splosts
  • 2 or more counties to join as their own “regions” for local projects
  • Referendum lengths extended up to 10 years or more in order to qualify for matching funds and bonding capacity. This is especially important for transit projects.

5) GDOT currently services debt in the amount of $402M/year for prior and current projects. The more of this debt than can be phased in to be serviced by the general fund, the more GDOT will be able to address the real needs for road re-design and capacity expansion.

As a matter of disclosure/reminder, I’m writing this piece as both the Editor of Peach Pundit and the Executive Director of PolicyBEST.org

One year ago today, we launched our organization with a press conference designed to begin a year long conversation about moving Georgia forward by improving transportation infrastructure.  We focused on areas of agreement between previously opposing organizations.  What we agreed on a year ago was admitted to be inadequate to meet the need, but was a demonstration that common ground could be found to focus on solving major & controversial problems.

Today’s blueprint continues on in that spirit.  It is a major step forward and represents what is possible with consensus.  If passed, we’ll be much better off than we are today.  We will still need to keep the conversation going to find additional funding to prepare for Georgia’s future.

56 comments

  1. John Konop says:

    ………..It is a major step forward and represents what is possible with consensus. If passed, we’ll be much better off than we are today. We will still need to keep the conversation going to find additional funding to prepare for Georgia’s future………

    Well said! Charlie you have done a tremendous job helping to get us here….Thanks!

  2. TheEiger says:

    I think this is good start. One major question. This will leave a $500 million to $600 million hole in the general fund right? Some of the money is local money and that’s why it’s not a $800 million hole.

    Where are we going to make that money up? I predict the answer is federal dollars through the expansion of medicaid. They will be able to fudge the numbers enough with that and a recovering economy to make it work. I’m not endorsing that as the solution. Just saying I think that is what is going to happen.

    • Jon Richards says:

      What are you calculating this number from? I’ll give you a $180 million transfer from the general fund to transportation given the 4th penny (which can be paid for via new revenue – up $700 million this year due to growth). I don’t see the rest.

      • TheEiger says:

        Yep. You are right. I was counting the 3% that already goes to GDOT.

        With that said. I still don’t understand that while they are messing with all of this why don’t they do it right. Add an additional 15-20 cents per gallon and phase it in 5 cents a month for three or four months and No one would even notice. Problem solved. Plenty of money just takes leadership and the will. A governor that can’t run for reelection is the perfect person to push that idea.

  3. Al Gray says:

    Isn’t LOST a one-time vote such that the tax remains until repealed? LOST is generally used as an offset to property taxes which feed the general fund of the local government and it is the greatest source of local government funding other that property tax.

    • blakeage80 says:

      I guess it could be, but most that I’ve paid expire if not renewed or a new one created. In other news, I have a feeling my homestead exemption is about to decrease from its current $10,000. Nuts.

      • Al Gray says:

        LOST is the first penny and only about 5 counties in Georgia don’t have it, including Cobb, Gwinnett, Cherokee, Rockdale, and Dekalb. SPLOSTS AND ELOST are for specific, designated projects and require periodic votes of the electorate.

        Since CAFE standards are set to rise 57% over 10 years, we will see that much of a tax increase if this passes as described. Also, the bit about a county being able to impose another 3% without a referendum is most troubling. We could see county commissions hyping SPLOST renewals quickly followed by these additional increases, which won’t receive such fanfare or advance warning.

        • Jon Richards says:

          The proposal is not to allow counties to “impose another 3% without a referendum.” What counties could do if the legislation passes as written is to place a three cent per gallon excise tax on gas that would have to be spent on transportation. If they wanted to impose a larger assessment, it would have to be approved by voters.

    • Bill Dawers says:

      I remain puzzled at this point about LOST revenues too. If there is a transition period for SPLOST and ESPLOST, that makes sense. But here in Chatham County, and I assume in the vast majority of the state, LOST is simply an ongoing local tax. Here, the division of the revenue among municipalities in the county has to be renegotiated after each decennial Census, but the continuation of it does not require a referendum.

      If LOST revenues will immediately go to the state, then municipalities will have little choice but to enact some sort of local gasoline tax, so the effective tax won’t be 29.2 cents/gallon but as much as 32.2 cents/gallon, or raise property taxes . . . I’m not necessarily for or against this plan from what I’ve heard so far, but it’s disingenuous to say that it does not involve tax increases.

      • TuckerDawg says:

        Bill,

        The joint county and municipal sales and use tax in your county will expire under its own terms. These local taxes are essentially renewable. If this bill passes, once the local sales tax has expired it cannot be renewed for motor fuel purposes. Local sales and use taxes will still be permissible as to other taxable sales. In lieu of local option sales taxes on motor fuels, the bill provides for local excise taxes to be used for “public transit purposes.” Your local governing authority will be able to pass a 3 cent/gallon local excise tax. A local referendum vote could be had to raise the local excise tax to as high as 6 cents/gallon.

        • TuckerDawg says:

          Correction: The funds raised by local excise taxes would be used for “transportation purposes” not “public transit purposes”

          • Bill Dawers says:

            LOST has never expired and never come up for another vote in the 20 years I’ve lived here. The allocations were renegotiated after the 2010 Census, and will have to be renegotiated after the 2020 Census, but there is no sunset date on that 1 percent.

  4. jimgilvin says:

    To characterize this proposal as anything other than a tax increase is false. The proposal takes hundreds of millions of dollars which are currently used to provide services for taxpayers out of the coffers of local governments. As a result taxpayers will either have to receive fewer services or pay more taxes than they do now.

    I am told this will cost the taxpayers of Alpharetta, GA more than $800,000 a year. As a city we currently spend well over 4 times that on roads and infrastructure. From a local government point of view this is simply a cowardly way of the state legislature forcing local governments to implement the tax increase they are requiring.

    • John Konop says:

      You could click your heals 3 times and hope and pray for money. How do you expect the needed infrastructure to be paid for? Give us a real plan….not a talking point….all ears…

      • Al Gray says:

        Here, we got hammered with TSPLOST, so there was your plan. Now we get hammered twice, if this passes, and possibly 3 times with the 3 cent county-commission fiat.

        Rescind TSPLOST, then we can talk.

        • John Konop says:

          At the end of the day we do not have enough money to pay for the infrastructure needs. We can either fall behind states that invest or pay for it. If we do not pay for it, taxes will go up more via lack of economic activity.,..it is what it is…,

          • Al Gray says:

            Not only are we paying TSPLOST, but Columbia County took care of widening and lengthening the major east-west corridor, which is a GEORGIA STATE HIGHWAY, with SPLOST funds.

            The legislators from here are going to catch hell if they support this.

            • Jon Richards says:

              Al, no one is taking away from what you are getting from TSPLOST or local funding for state routes. You are not the only one; Gwinnett has spent $1.5 billion from splosts, and Forsyth just committed to $200 million to widen state route GA 400.

              The $1 billion this bill will allocate to transportation is enough to maintain what we have, not to widen roads or add new corridors. I’ll still maintain you are ahead by investing in TSPLOST for new and improved roads. That’s not what this bill will pay for.

              • Al Gray says:

                That wasn’t all TPLOST went for either, Augusta’s went toward signalization, and transit. Also, the 25% discretionary pot goes almost entirely to maintenance of existing roads, streets and highways.

    • androidguybill says:

      Jim, I agree that the right thing to do would be to have the straightforward tax increase. The problem is that as soon as they do the right thing, people like you would repay them by voting them out of office. Why? Because you have the ideology that Alpharetta can take care of itself and should be left to itself because of it. Which totally ignores that A) if there wasn’t a larger metro Atlanta region Alpharetta wouldn’t exist in the first place and B) if the larger metro Atlanta region goes down, Alpharetta goes down with it.

      There used to be a lot more people with your ideology. It took the combination of the great recession and snowjam to change their minds.

      • To be fair, the vast majority of people in elected office in Georgia got there by pandering to the we never have to raise taxes crowd. If they now have to lose because they raise taxes, isn’t that just kind of their just desserts?

  5. jimgilvin says:

    Plan 1 – If the state wants to raise taxes they should do it and stop pretending this is not a tax increase just because they’re forcing local governments to implement it.

    Plan 2 – Make transportation a higher state budget priority. Current levels of general funds toward transportation are laughable given the dire rhetoric about infrastructure needs.

    Plan 3 – Support the Transportation Empowerment Act

    Plan 4 – Prioritize allocation of state transportation funds to those local governments that actually use their current gas tax revenues for road maintenance and improvements. If a city wanted to continue using gasoline sales tax revenue for non-transportation uses they could but if they don’t prioritize their local transportation needs neither would the state.

    Plan 5 – Eliminate or reduce fuel tax exemptions for transportation companies like Delta

    Those are just the first 5 that come to mind. Any combination of the above ideas that raise the appropriate revenues would be preferable to the current proposal.

    • androidguybill says:

      Plan 1: you would vote against anyone who does this
      Plan 2: you would vote against anyone who does this because it would mean cutting education, public safety, health care etc. for transportation
      Plan 3: would significantly reduce the transportation dollars in Georgia (and most other red states)
      Plan 4: totally ignores that state transportation needs far transcend local road maintenance and improvement projects
      Plan 5: would only raise a fraction of the money that we need and is a populist talking point akin to the “let’s take the money that is being spent on the Falcons’ stadium and use that for highways!” talk that was popular a couple of years ago (that strangely was never applied to the Braves’ stadium)

      It is basically a “I only want to pay for local projects that benefit my community and I want everyone who thinks differently to let their feelings known so I can vote against them” agenda.

      • Al Gray says:

        And once again, credit in the form of about $640 million over 10 years needs to come to the CSRA Region who did make pay for its transportation future. Make us whole and the other 2 regions under TSPLOST, then we can talk.

        TSPLOST is a total fiasco with revenues structurally deficient, costs woefully understated, and DOT accounting games, but the Augusta National got its $23 million projects up front, nice and neat, at the cost of poor McDuffie County’s projects which remained in the last 40 months after the National’s projects got flipped forward.

        You gotta love how Georgia politics work.

    • Jon Richards says:

      Jim, to your points:

      1: No one is forcing a tax increase here.Many of the arguments I have heard is that government needs to tighten its belt. The state is planning to do that, and maybe the local governments should as well.

      2: Please provide details of exactly what state spending you would prefer to reallocate to transportation. Make it equal $1 billion, so it matches the proposal offered here. And make sure there won’t be any political opposition. Remember, eliminating the soil and water commission in the 2016 budget is generating a ton of pushback to legislators.

      3: The Transportation Empowerment Act basically says trade federal spending on roads for state spending on roads. That seems to be the direction the state is moving towards.

      4: This appears to be why the act will allow local governments to implement their own fuel excise taxes, if desired.

      5: Delta’s exemption on paying taxes on jet fuel purchased in Georgia is irrelevant to transportation funding. Revenues foregone because of Delta’s tax exemption would have had to have gone to benefit the airport, rather than roads and bridges. Just like the claim that the hotel/motel tax should have paid for roads rather than a new stadium for the Falcons, it’s a non-sequitur.

      • John Konop says:

        All should read your post! Very well done! It is always hard to roll up your sleeves and deal with details……the reason nothing gets done at times…much easier no matter the issue is to fall back on talking points to fire up base….both sides do this all the time…,

  6. androidguybill says:

    Two other things that need to happen. They shouldn’t be added to this bill however because they would probably be “poison pills.”

    1. An item that bgsmallz has been hammering for years: change MARTA’s charter to allow cities to be able to join. Cobb County will never join MARTA (at least not until the local commissioners run out of ways to gerrymander districts to maintain a 4-1 GOP balance anyway) but Smyrna, Vinings and other areas of Cobb that have Atlanta mailing addresses anyway would join tomorrow, as would Mableton. The same is true of some areas in Gwinnett. Local control, right? Or does that only apply to GOP areas that want to break away from Democratic-run county governments in Fulton and DeKalb?

    2. Giving contiguous counties the ability to create taxing districts for highway projects is great. But the state also needs to provide a mechanism that would allow them to come together to create transit agencies as well. Let – for example – Cobb, Cherokee, Forsyth and Gwinnett create their own transit agency (as they will never join MARTA). And let there be some sort of triggering mechanism so that when that happens, all such transit agencies – MARTA included – would be ultimately managed by the GRTA. (The GRTA was originally Roy Barnes’ ultimate solution to the MARTA problem anyway.)

  7. Dave Bearse says:

    Indexing an excise tax to CAFE is a step in the right direction. At this point however there’s no concern that indexing to both CAFE and inflation is going to raise too much transportation revenue. Index the motor fuel excise tax to both. Adjust if/as necessary at the time of future major transportation funding legislation.

    I disapprove a new (or existing for that matter) highway transportation bond funding to be repaid from general revenue. It’s a backdoor road user subsidy.

    • John Konop says:

      I like and respect Eric, the difference is Charlie is not playing to listeners for ratings….He is doing the tough job of dealing with real details on how to fix a problem. In my opinion Charlie has done an excellent job of getting the message out….and fighting the fire breathing talking points….As you notice on this thread, when you ask them to deal with reality of the situation….all you get is unrealistic non thought out talking points….It is difficult to take the high road….because many do not want to listen to the reality….it is a great sales pitch to tell people no new taxes, click your heals 3 times and problem solved….Charlie has done a very good job in keeping focused on reality…..and bringing different groups to the table….just my 10 cents….

  8. blakeage80 says:

    One possible scenario: The TEA passes Congress and devolves most road maintenance responsibility to the states. Georgia is looking at a bill the pushes the responsibility of raising tax revenue to the counties. Doesn’t this solve one of the largest complaints of any concerned citizen, local control? If this plays out, then we get to fight with our neighbors about raising taxes! Every county’s residents would then have the chance to scrutinize their county’s taxing and spending. Now we just have to learn when our commission meetings are held. I guess now everyone will be nervous about phase II, how to raise money for new/expanded roads/transit.

    • John Konop says:

      ……….Doesn’t this solve one of the largest complaints of any concerned citizen, local control?…..

      Another talking point….People travel outside of their county…..with your logic we would never have a HWY system, large commercial airports, rail…..You cannot do efficient planning for infrastructure county by county….The guys who push this LOCAL CONTROL talking point always claim to be great historians who understand the constitution…..I have news if you ever read and or understood US history….clearly the founding fathers were pro expansion of infrastructure to grow our economy….ever heard of Lewis and Clark, how the rail system was built, Hwy system, electronic grid, internet….do you not get this was paid for by the government? Do you not understand more than likely you would be living in Birmingham had not we invested into our international airport? Simple concept pay for it now….or pay for it with loss of jobs in the future….which will cost way more….

      • blakeage80 says:

        No, no, no, John, I’m not talking about the transportation planning and spending, but more so taxation in general. I agree that transportation has to have a regional component. To be more clear, I am saying that this is a golden opportunity for communities to look more closely at how their municipality taxes and spends. This proposal, I think, could be a good thing. Now, if you live in a county that doubles what you are paying in property taxes in response, you may not think so.

  9. northside101 says:

    Will this legislation be in the form of a constitutional amendment? I think such is required when we propose dedicating sources of revenue for a particular subject—such as in this legislation, proceeds from electric car fees to be earmarked for transit.

    • Jon Richards says:

      The constitutional amendment was long ago. For a long time the Georgia Constitution has dedicated all funds from the motor fuel excise tax to roads and bridges. All that’s being done here is to increase the amount of the excise tax (and eliminate the sales tax on gas in return.)

      As far as sending the electric car fees to transit, you have a valid point. Since one General Assembly can’t bind the actions of another one, it’s possible that some future General Assembly could spend the money on something else, and Chairman Roberts acknowledged that in his press conference. But, as far as I know, no one is preparing a constitutional amendment.

      • Dave Bearse says:

        It’s possible? There’s the experience of the use of the tire disposal so-called fee and a host of others, such as special license plate charges, to indicate the General Assembly that such commitments are malarkey.

        I think you’d be hard pressed to identify more cases where so-called fees were used only for the purpose for which they are established than not.

  10. debbie0040 says:

    House Republican Leadership have released talking points of their transportation plan to their House members and it will increase your gas prices 7.7 cents per gallon. We are still analyzing it but here are the brief points of interest to you so far. Stay tuned for a more complete analysis in an email we will send in a few days

    1. House Republicans have concocted a scheme wherein they call a tax increase a tax “conversion” by converting the gas tax into an excise tax. It will raise one billion new dollars in new revenue according to the talking points, but House Republicans attempt to claim it doesn’t raise taxes.

    2. YOUR gas prices will rise at least 7.7 cents per gallon House Republicans are causing everyday Georgians to be burdened with higher taxes/ gas prices while they give large corporations massive tax breaks and are helping fund a parking deck for the new Atlanta Falcons stadium.

    3. According to the talking points, the House Republican Plan will fund the central Georgia Transportation Infrastructure Bank so that “a revolving, self-sustaining, loan/grant fund is created to incentivize governments, authorities, CIDs and other entities to provide matching funds for local construction of projects.” Unelected bureaucrats in development authorities, CIDs and other entities will be allocating YOUR tax dollars.

    • Scott65 says:

      “and it will increase your gas prices 7.7 cents per gallon”

      My response …so what? Gas prices can fluctuate much more than that in the period of 3 days wildly in both directions. If the money is going to a place where this state needs funding…WTF cares about 7.7 cent increases when you’ve seen a 1.50 windfall (unexpected at that)? Gas has gone down over 50% in the last several months so 7.7 cents just isnt a big deal in the scheme of things. I’d say rather than complaining about 7.7 cents, your energy would be far more productive in making sure that 7.7 cents is spent the way its supposed to be and not diverted to some other purpose

      • seenbetrdayz says:

        “I’d say rather than complaining about 7.7 cents, your energy would be far more productive in making sure that 7.7 cents is spent the way its supposed to be and not diverted to some other purpose

        And you think complaining about the increase is a waste of time?

        Here’s the cycle of taxation for you liberals:

        1) They need more money.
        2) They waste it.
        3) Repeat.

  11. xdog says:

    “expansion of the local match “LMIG” program”

    The Local Maintenance & Improvement Grant program is a pretty big thing in Oconee as it is in many other counties. I’m curious about the proposed expansion and concerned that future money will be more expensive.

    • Rambler14 says:

      Considering LMIG is just a portion of GDOT’s motor fuel dollars dedicated back to local governments,

      I don’t understand why it is even being discussed at the same time as a funding increase. Changing the amount dedicated towards LMIG doesn’t increase GDOT’s funding 1 penny. All it means is that Local Governments would have to spend a little less of their own dollars for ongoing resurfacing/maintenance.

      • xdog says:

        I think you might have provided the answer, Rambler.

        As you say, if LMIG money goes up then local governments spend less. The increase could ease locals’ concerns about the loss of revenue under the new rules forbidding local sales taxes on fuel.

  12. Will Durant says:

    Reading comments elsewhere I think this bill will need the same spin doctors who invented the public releases regarding the “elimination of the birthday tax”. If more effort isn’t spent on bringing the public around on the needs I’m not very optimistic. Instead of making snide comments over the RFRA BS the governor’s attack dogs need to grow a set and work on transportation funding or the legislature will cave again.

  13. My vehicle (Chevy Volt) is a “hybrid”, in that it is not only battery driven, but I only purchased about 20 gallons of gas for it last year. Do I pay the $200 plus when I buy gas (I would argue very not fair to me) or do I only pay when I buy my 20 gallons (also not fair but this time to the state/my fellow citizens). I also buy the AFV tag each year which lets me drive in the HOV lane, a great bargain at whatever the cost is (I think $50?) but that is kind of in lieu of what I’d pay in gas taxes in a 50 mpg car. Now I’m maybe supposed to pay $200 extra? I’m all for that money going to transit but what about the legions of Nissan Leaf tax credit moochers in Buford, Ga who hate transit?

    • TheEiger says:

      It really is funny and has absolutely made my day to see a liberal complain about something and use the phrase “not fair.” This after the President spent the entire state of the union telling us all we need to “pay our fair share.” Fair share this. Fair share that. You use the road right with your nice little Volt? Then pay “your fair share” to use it! Hahahahaha!

    • Jon Richards says:

      Chris, based on my reading of the actual bill, your hybrid will not qualify as a vehicle subject to the $200 fee. As a result, however, it will no longer qualify for an AFV tag, which means your free ride in the HOT lane will be over.

  14. Al Gray says:

    Forget the hand wringing over whether this is a tax increase and pass either an excise tax or general sales tax big enough to fund the needs, while providing credit for the counties with TSPLOST in place.

    • Dave Bearse says:

      I take it you mean TIA regional T-SPLOST, and not a individual county T-SPLOST.

      I agree some sort of credit is in order for counties that approved TIA in event of a statewide tax increase. The state as a whole gets clipped a wee bit in that the TIA counties, and not the state, are in control of some of funding for a few more years, but’s it’s the price to be paid for the generally failed TIA legislation.

  15. Scott65 says:

    I think that this whole region owes a big debt of gratitude to one Keith Parker over at MARTA. A lot of hard work on his part has convinced many legislators that MARTA can be run responsibly and for the first time has brought transit into the conversation…something I thought I’d never see in my lifetime

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