Georgia House approves midyear budget with massive road, infrastructure spending

State Rep. Matt Hatchett, R-Dublin, is the chair of the state House Appropriations Committee, which hammered out the chamber's version of the midyear budget. The full House voted in approval of the spending plan on Wednesday. (Arvin Temkar / arvin.temkar@ajc.com)

Credit: Arvin Temkar/AJC

Credit: Arvin Temkar/AJC

State Rep. Matt Hatchett, R-Dublin, is the chair of the state House Appropriations Committee, which hammered out the chamber's version of the midyear budget. The full House voted in approval of the spending plan on Wednesday. (Arvin Temkar / arvin.temkar@ajc.com)

The Georgia House on Wednesday backed a midyear budget that includes massive spending on road building, college facilities and other infrastructure projects .

The House backed most of the spending hikes Gov. Brian Kemp proposed in January, approving a plan that would add $5 billion in new state spending during fiscal 2024 — which ends June 30.

The House passed the budget 161-2, and it now moves to the Senate, which is expected to move quickly on the proposal.

While tax revenue has slowed, the state has $16 billion in “rainy day” and undesignated reserves, giving lawmakers plenty of room to increase spending.

The state spent about $26.6 billion — excluding federal funding — in fiscal 2020, the last budget plan approved before the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Last year, it was more than $32 billion, and the midyear plan would spend $37.5 billion for fiscal 2024. Of that, $2 billion would come out of “undesignated” reserves.

The budget includes a range of major infrastructure and education projects, including a new medical school at the University of Georgia, a new dental school at Georgia Southern University, large-scale computer system upgrades, more money for sewer improvements and massive spending on road construction. The state would spend an additional $1.5 billion alone on road building and maintenance.

The state would also spend $35 million on renovations at the Atlanta Farmers Market, and $450 million would go for a new state-of-the-art prison in Washington County.

The midyear budget includes $29.25 million for public safety and infrastructure costs related to the 2026 FIFA World Cup and 2025 College Football Playoff National Championship events in Atlanta.

The House went along with Kemp’s proposal to spend $500 million to prop up the state’s pension system for retired state workers.

The House added $2 million to help pay for the construction of the Anne Frank Education Center, with an additional $4 million coming from private sources. The move came a week after Kemp signed into law a bill providing new protections against antisemitism.

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