ATLANTA (Feb. 25, 2009) – The Transforming Transportation Investment Act passed out of the Transportation Committee today with an 8-3 vote.  President Pro Tempore Tommie Williams (R-Lyons) is leading the effort in the Senate for a new transportation governance structure that is responsive to the needs of Georgia’s citizens.

“Transportation is not a Republican or Democrat issue.  It’s a Georgia issue.  Ten years is too long to wait for a road when all the funding is there.  This new agency will be more streamlined and more adept to getting things done,” said Williams.  “The legislature will have a say in mapping the future of transportation for Georgia.”

Under Senate Bill 200, the State Road and Tollway Authority (SRTA) and the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority (GRTA) will be merged and all functions, duties, responsibilities, and obligations of the authorities will be transferred to a newly created State Transportation Authority (STA).    

Williams added, “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.”

STA will have three areas in which to distribute project funds – State Asset Management, State Asset Improvement, and Local Grants.  A minimum of 25% of the State Motor Fuel Funds collected annually will be allocated to the Local Grants program area.  The State Asset Management funds will be designated for operations, maintenance and rehabilitation of existing transportation infrastructure.  The State Asset Improvement funds will be designated for new road and transit capacity and safety improvements.  STA will be able to contract with both public and private entities.  Contracts will still go through the bidding process and certain current rules and regulations will apply. 

The STA will be comprised of 11 members – five appointed by the Governor, three appointed by the Lt. Governor and three appointed by the Speaker of the House.  All appointments to STA will be ratified within five legislative days.  Appointed members serve terms concurrent with the elected official who selected them, up to four years.

GDOT will be charged with the management of the state highway network, under internal direction of the GDOT Commissioner.  This legislation maintains compliance with Federal laws and regulations that govern the use of Federal funds, planning, environmental reviews, system-wide safety, procurement and other factors.

Senate Press Office