GPPF Breakfast On Transportation

I attended a breakfast held yesterday morning by the Georgia Public Policy Foundation with their analysis on the current transportation needs, costs, and funding mechanisms.  Many of you may remember I was a bit critical of an Op-Ed written by their Executive Director, Kelly McCutchen a few weeks ago that appeared in the AJC, as the words as written were being used by….one of my favorite “activists” to oppose the House transportation funding proposal which has been working its way through the committee process.

I will agree with Kelly’s rebuttal at the time that 700 words does not allow for a full presentation nor policy discussion.  I appreciated the level of detail presented yesterday.

For those who are continuing to use GPPF as a reason to reject the House Bill, may I direct you to these words from their website:

The Transportation Funding Act would convert this mix of taxes into a single state excise tax of 29.2 cents per gallon, based on the average retail price of gasoline in Georgia over the last four years. For reference, that’s more than the 27.5 cents per gallon Georgians paid in 2014, but less than the 29.4 cents per gallon in 2012.

Gas taxes should be dedicated to transportation. The practice of state and local governments diverting these funds to other non-transportation purposes for many years led to the current dilemma; correcting it is neither easy nor simple.

and, directly to the point of those who believe GPPF has presented an opposing view of the House plan:

The House proposal is a good start. It needs adjustments, but few legislative proposals pass as-is. For now, citizens and legislators must ignore the spin from special interest groups on both sides of the debate. Let’s be honest about the tough choices that are required and take the time to get the facts and the plan right.

While I don’t have all the details from GPPF’s numbers from the presentation (They have now posted videos of the event here, here, and here), here’s some salient points:

GPPF believes that the capital needed for statewide transportation improvements will require in excess of $1 Billion per year for the next 30 years.  This number is exclusive of maintenance needs which are currently significantly underfunded.

GPPF supports SPLOSTS, Tolls, Managed Lanes, Public Private Partnerships, and increasing bond financing to get started on some of the major projects early.  (As do I.).  Their presentation this morning made clear that these are in addition to, not replacement of, the $1 Billion per year that would be funded by switching our motor fuels sales taxes to a fixed excise tax.  Local money will still be required to do a lot of the major projects.  Thus, the need to continue to find flexibility of SPLOSTs (fractional percentages, two or more county regions, lifting the 1% SPLOST cap, extending SPLOST terms to 10 years or longer, local option gas taxes, etc) will be with us for some time if and when the House bill passes.

I appreciate the detail provided in the presentation, and agree that their assessment that the current House bill is a good start.  Those who continue to use GPPF as an example of why the House bill should be stopped are either being willfully ignorant or willfully deceptive.

6 comments

  1. To clarify our position, we proposed a comprehensive 30-year statewide plan (http://reason.org/news/show/strategies-mobility-atlanta) that maximizes resources by stretching $1 billion in new public funding to $1.4 billion by utilizing tolls, managed lanes, and P3s. This plan frees up GDOT to use most of its resources currently devoted to new construction on maintenance. It also stretches taxpayer dollars by 40%. (Link to the presentation here http://georgiapolicy.org/ftp_files/2015TransportationFundingChallenges.ppt.)

  2. Dave Bearse says:

    Tweaking what locals can do with local funds isn’t much in the way of transportation. Drop the façade, and stop referring to transportation in discussion. HB170 is highway funding legislation.

    Turns out big and bold is simply run of the mill replacement of a motor fuel sales tax with an increased excise tax that will be adjusted for fleet mileage and inflation.

  3. Newtster says:

    Interesting. GPPF is saying the same thing that I have been saying, that HB 170 is not enough funding and that a combination of funding strategies should be employed, including tolls, managed lanes, PPP and other alternative funding techniques.

    Actually humorous that Charlie supports that strategy now. The GPPF ONLY positive comment RE HB 170 is “…it is a good start.” Clearly the GPPF position is nothing close to what is included in the provisions of HB 170, and is therefore, still a strong statement as a basis for opposing HB 170, which includes NONE of the suggestions made by GPPF.

    Now…if only we could find someone who has reviewed and properly vetted the “use of funds” side of the equation.

    • Charlie says:

      Perhaps you could look up 3 whole comments and see their Executive Director’s comment?

      For bonus points you could actually watch the 3 videos above, but I know how you hate facts to get in the way of your preconceived points.

  4. Newtster says:

    Typical Charlie. Nothing of substance, simply more BS while you ignore the FACTS, which you seem to think favor your opinion. Here is a link for you Charlie :
    http://cloud.chambermaster.com/userfiles/UserFiles/chambers/9088/File/2014TransportationSummitAttendees12-3-2014.pdf
    That will provide you with a FACT that you might want to address in your more lucid moments, that shows that GDOT sent 78 representatives to the 2014 Transportation Summit. Now you can address waste at GDOT intelligently Charlie.

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