Last week the State Senate lead the efforts in a complete make over in how transportation projects are funded and prioritized by introducing a new transportation governance structure that will be responsive to the needs of Georgia’s citizens.

Georgians continue to lose valuable time with their families and at their jobs because they are sitting in traffic. We can no longer tolerate this gridlock. Despite putting billions of dollars into the Department of Transportation, nothing has changed. 

Under the Transforming Transportation Investment Act (SB 200), the State Road and Tollway Authority (SRTA) and the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority (GRTA) will be merged with all functions, duties, responsibilities, and obligations being transferred to a newly created State Transportation Authority (STA).    

It’s time to get Georgia moving on transportation issues and this bill does just that.  The legislature will have a much greater say in mapping the future of transportation for Georgia and be able to ensure transportation dollars are spent in an efficient and strategic manner

Some projects have taken over fifteen years to even get started, let alone finished.  This costs taxpayers millions more dollars than the original plan, meanwhile sending the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) further and further into debt.  The spiral effect continues to occur with other projects being delayed or prolonged. 

This bill provides a framework with clearly defined roles and responsibilities, clear directives on establishing a statewide transportation strategy, and an understandable and equitable funding process that will ensure transportation dollars are spent in an efficient and strategic manner.  It creates an atmosphere of accountability and efficiency.

Transportation is not a Republican or Democrat issue.  Playing politics and power struggles is not the way to move Georgia forward with transportation improvements. 

GDOT has done well in many areas such as safety and maintenance.  Transportation Commissioner Gena Evans was well on her way to really working toward transparent processes.  It is unfortunate that the GDOT Board chose to remove Gena Evans this week when she was making great strides and accomplishments in improving the department.  I believe this had little to do with her performance.  This board clearly did not want the accountability.  Their actions only support the call for action and an overhaul of the transportation project process. 

I am committed to creating a transportation system that allows the citizens to hold us accountable for moving Georgia where we need to go in transportation.