Just last year lawmakers passed an income tax break for railroads when they spend money maintaining tracks.
Lobbyists for railroad giant CSX don’t scrimp on spending at the Capitol. For instance, its chief lobbyist once flew then-Gov. Sonny Perdue to Jacksonville, Fla., for the Georgia-Florida game and typically spends big on lawmakers.
The company and its top lobbyist also contributed more than $35,000 in the last election cycle to state candidates, including $3,500 to Gov. Brian Kemp, who would have to sign any bill lawmakers pass.
The state’s short-line railroads would also benefit. They, too, have been active on the political front.
Members of the Tarbutton family, which owns the freight short-line Sandersville Railroad, are among the biggest political donors in the state. Charles Tarbutton served as chairman of Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle’s failed gubernatorial bid last year. The family contributed about $200,000 to candidates in the last election cycle, much of it to Cagle and later Kemp after he beat the lieutenant governor last summer in the Republican runoff.
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