For the first time, Gov. Nathan Deal is reacting to the newly released transportation funding bill introduced by state House leaders last week.
The bill would raise the $1 billion in additional money needed for just maintenance and repair of the state’s roads and bridges, according to its sponsors.
Deal says he supports the idea of moving away from a sales tax on motor fuel in favor of a 29.2 cent excise tax per gallon of gas. All the money raised would be dedicated towards transportation.
“I think that’s a significant step in the right direction,” he tells WSB’s Sandra Parrish.
Deal is, however, concerned with a provision in the bill calling for a $100 million bond package to go towards transit and the repair of the state’s aging bridges. He doesn’t believe that will provide the sustainable funding needed.
“I believe it is more prudent to have a transportation reform package that builds into it a sustainable amount of revenue on an annual basis that does not have to be tampered with or to have large infusions of money in a bond package every year,” he says.
Deal does support the idea of a user fee on alternative fuel vehicles which would also go to fund transit under the bill. Owners of non-commercial vehicles that run on electricity, propane, or natural gas would pay $200 while commercial owners would pay $300.
The bill will go before a House transportation sub-committee Thursday.