Kemp unveils $2B in new spending for roads, sewers, new schools

Gov. Brian Kemp speaks during Georgia Chamber Congressional Luncheon at The Classic Center, Tuesday, August 8, 2023, in Athens. (Hyosub Shin /

Credit: Hyosub Shin/AJC

Credit: Hyosub Shin/AJC

Gov. Brian Kemp speaks during Georgia Chamber Congressional Luncheon at The Classic Center, Tuesday, August 8, 2023, in Athens. (Hyosub Shin /

Gov. Brian Kemp is dipping deeper into Georgia’s state coffers for a range of major infrastructure and education proposals that include a new medical school, a new dental school, more money for sewer improvements and a massive road-building project.

The Republican unveiled more than $2 billion in new spending projects Wednesday at the Georgia Chamber’s annual Eggs & Issues breakfast, where he also announced he would delay a separate effort to curb “frivolous” lawsuits and overhaul litigation rules until 2025.

With more than $16 billion in reserves, state lawmakers can afford to ratchet up spending. But with other big-ticket items already on the agenda — including a plan to speed an income tax cut — Kemp is facing pressure over the limits of the spending spree.

Here’s a closer look at his plans:


The governor will recommend including an additional $1.5 billion in the Georgia Department of Transportation’s budget to finish a slate of commuter and freight projects already in the agency’s pipeline.

The funding would also establish a new program for freight infrastructure projects to speed the transportation of goods. He also wants to spend $200 million of the money on local projects that could be spent on road engineering, construction, paving and maintenance.


Under Kemp’s plan, the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority would receive $250 million to finance local water and sewer projects across the state. The spending would raise the fund’s capacity for new projects to $325 million and the overall portfolio to nearly $750 million.

“It will also give Georgia a competitive edge in attracting even more job creation to our state, especially in our rural communities,” he said.

Water and sewer projects have gotten a big funding boost recently. In February 2022, Kemp announced plans to spend $422 million in federal COVID-relief grant money on local water and sewer projects.


The governor’s spending blueprint will include a $178 million proposal for the design and construction of a dental school at Georgia Southern University, which he said would be the first school of its kind to be built in the state since 1969.


The University of Georgia would receive $50 million for a new medical school, long a controversial subject in the higher education world.

The governor, an Athens native, said the construction “will go a long way to helping us address the medical workforce gap Georgia has struggled with for years.”


The governor’s spending plan calls for an additional $56 million to go to a Workforce Housing Fund designed to allow local authorities across the state to prepare land for new housing developments in areas with major economic development deals.


After months of meetings with industry experts, Kemp said he decided that a comprehensive effort to rewrite Georgia’s litigation rules to curb big jury awards will spill into next year.

It’s a dramatic turnabout for Kemp, who surprised corporate executives at the Georgia Chamber’s annual meeting in August by vowing to reshape regulations guiding plaintiffs’ litigation.

Kemp said he would take a “first step” this year by introducing a draft that is aimed at stabilizing the insurance market, steadying premiums for Georgia families and would “level the playing field in our courtrooms.”

“Like in every major undertaking our state has tackled in the past, we will work on a Georgia-specific solution — one designed to make meaningful reforms in this area over the next several years,” he said.


Pledging not to “cower to activists who seek to attack job creators,” Kemp called for legislation that would require businesses that receive state incentives to guarantee the right to a secret ballot vote on decisions regarding union representation.

“Georgians have a right to opportunity, and we will defend that right against the overreaches of big government and big labor,” he said.

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