The time has come to take action and make meaningful investments in our transportation infrastructure.
Our organizations were honored to be a part of a legislative study committee charged with identifying potential solutions to this growing challenge. During statewide hearings, experts confirmed what we have long known. Our communities need greater mobility and connectivity, reliance on federal funding is not a viable option, and we lag the nation in spending on construction and maintenance.
The testimony described a bleak future, one that makes it harder to get to work or school, hurts our ability to move freight from our ports or airport, and threatens the safety of our citizens.
Georgia’s existing funding structure is insufficient, and it is unreliable. We depend too heavily on dwindling federal resources. We rely on a state sales tax that is impacted by changes in the cost of fuel and continues to decline as efficiency improves. Projections estimate that Georgia needs a minimum of $1 billion annually just to keep up with current maintenance needs. That number grows to over $2 billion if we want to invest in new projects.
Georgia no longer has the luxury of waiting to act, especially if we want to continue to attract new jobs and investment.
We have been encouraged by the posture of Georgia’s elected leaders. Gov. Nathan Deal, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and Speaker David Ralston have all said unequivocally that these needs must be addressed. That sentiment has been echoed by many members of the General Assembly, who will have the opportunity to vote on this issue in the days ahead.
This challenge is not a simple one to solve. The decisions that need to be made are not easy – but bold decisions never are.
Choosing the right road forward does not always mean the one with least resistance and those who make that choice deserve our appreciation and support.
The passage of transportation funding legislation this year is critical for the future success of our communities, our companies and our economy – and it will send a clear signal that Georgia will remain a great place to live and do business long into the future.