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Williams Leads Passage of State Transportation Bill
Thursday, 05 March 2009

March 5 – A law which takes away the funding authority of the Georgia Department of Transportation passed the state Senate Thursday under the leadership of Senator Tommie Williams of Lyons, President Pro Tem of the Senate.  "I think everybody up here has had experiences with DOT that they don't believe the department can get the projects out the door," he said.

The bill would create a new State Transportation Authority which would provide funding for highway and other transportation projects.  Senator Williams believes the 13-member State Transportation Board is ineffective. 

"You've got 13 board members pulling in different directions.  It's a governance problem we're addressing by creating a whole new agency to handle planning and funding.  I've been very frustrated over the last ten years to be told projects were being done and then to learn they were not being done.  So, you work with folks to try to make it happen and if it doesn't you go another way," the senator said.

The bill now goes to the House where Senator Williams thinks the chance of passage is fifty-fifty. 

Below is the text of a news release from the Georgia Senate.

The Transforming Transportation Investment Act passed in the Senate today.  President Pro Tempore Tommie Williams (R-Lyons) led the effort in the Senate and spoke to the accountability and transparency of the new authority. 

“Today the Senate has exercised solid leadership in making much needed reforms to Georgia’s transportation governance through the passage of SB 200,” said Williams.  “This bill was put forward by Senate and House leadership in concert with the Governor and we look forward to the House now carrying the momentum forward and getting this important legislation through the General Assembly.  I was pleased to carry this bill and I believe it is a strong step toward success in solving Georgia's transportation challenges.”

Under Senate Bill 200, the State Road and Tollway Authority (SRTA) and the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority (GRTA) will be merged and all functions, duties, responsibilities, and obligations of the authorities will be transferred to a newly created State Transportation Authority (STA).  The bill allows for a new, transparent model for funding decisions that gives the General Assembly and the Governor direct appropriation powers, much like the way other agencies in Georgia are funded and governed.

For more information on SB 200, go to the Georgia General Assembly web site at www.legis.ga.gov.

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