Friday, June 15, 2018
NOTES FROM THE SENATE, JUNE 15, 2018
2018 A PIVOTAL YEAR FOR TRANSPORTATION IN GEORGIA
Transportation events don't seem to happen every year, but when they do, their impact is huge. After a lot of conversation about transportation needs around the state, HB 170 was passed in 2015 and the resulting infusion of excise tax changes and fees has propelled transportation projects statewide. This year, transit was a front burner issue for the Legislature and landmark legislation passed that may set the pathway for the future for counties in the Atlanta area.
LEGISLATION TIED TO TRANSPORTATION
--HB 930-- "Mass Transit Services in Georgia" Creates the Atlanta-Region Transit Link Authority (ATL) as its own state authority. Replaces Georgia Regional Transit Authority. Creates optional TSPLOST that counties can adopt via referendum to fund transit-related projects in each county. Imposes a sales tax on rideshare services and creates customized procedures that Fulton, Cobb and Gwinnett Counties may use to contract for transit services within their jurisdictions.
--HB 717-- Puts self- driving vehicles under state consumer protection laws including Fair Practices Act of 1975, The Georgia Motor Vehicle Franchise Practices Act and the Georgia Lemon law.
--HB 150-- The State Road and Tollway Authority will now be authorized to collect unpaid tolls and fees through the Department of Revenue and retains current collection avenues for the Authority. This bill also extends the application of the Consumer Price Index for determining the excise tax rate on motor fuel until 2022.
--HB 324-- Allows a municipality to contract with a county in order to build bridges within or conjoining the municipality.
--HB 445-- Prohibits camping and homesteading on state roads and highways including under overpasses. Requires DOT to receive at least fair market value for unneeded remnants or portions of land owned by the department. Allows for sale through a broker or auction for highest bid if within 15% of fair market value. Reduces listing of available properties to 1 month. Bill provisions apply as well to counties and municipalities' property.
--SR 745-- Names various roads and bridges around the state. Local namings include:
(Former Senator) Edward H. Zipperer Bridge at SR 204 and King George Blvd., Savannah
Staff Sergeant Stephen Michael Wright Memorial Highway, SR 4/U.S.1 through all of Toombs County
State Highway 17 from Kingsland to Savannah (through Effingham) as Georgia Grown: 17
U.S. 280 from Bellville to the Tattnall County Line as the Veterans Memorial Highway.
BONDS FOR ROADS, RAILS, BRIDGES AND THE PORT
--$100 Million-- Third year of program to repair bridges statewide
--$1.2 Million-- For improvements and rehabilitation improvements on state-owned Ogeechee Railway line
--$2.6 million-- For rehabilitation and improvements on Southwestern Railroad state-owned rail line
--$7.3 million-- For rehabilitation and improvements on Heart of Georgia (HOG) state-owned rail line. (Includes $1.82 million for Nunez to Vidalia line)
--$1.3 million-- For rehabilitation and improvements on Chattooga and Chickamauga state-owned rail line
--$35 million-- For the Georgia Ports Authority to continue the harbor deepening at the Port of Savannah
--$100 million-- To the State Road and Tollway Authority for transit initiatives statewide
BUDGET HIGHLIGHTS FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
--$1.83 Billion-- In Motor Fuel Funds designated for Transportation
--$85.5 million -- State General Funds appropriated for Transportation
Full transcripts of bills may be found at http://www.legis.ga.gov/en-US/default.aspx . Simply type the bill number into the box at the top left-hand corner of the screen and specify if it is in the House or the Senate. The FY 2019 budget (H.B. 684) may be found at http://www.senate.ga.gov/sbeo/en-US/AppropriationsDocuments.aspx. As always, I welcome any questions you may have.