Again, on transportation: A more definite connection between ‘governance’ and a sales tax

Last week, at a press conference designed to show the enthusiasm of Casey Cagle and the state Senate for a measure that could lead to increased funding for transportation, the lieutenant governor declared the push for a sales tax to be absolutely, completely sequestered from the reorganization of the transportation bureaucracy championed by Gov. Sonny Perdue.

“We are trying to keep those two issues completely separate. The issue of governance is separate from the issue of funding. Totally separate,” the lieutenant governor said.

Apparently, things change. This morning, as reported below, Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers (R-Woodstock) declared that, without a “governance” bill, there’s no way he could support a House-Senate compromise on a sales tax for transportation.

“I’m very fearful of moving forward with any funding plan, if there’s not a governance plan,” Rogers said at a press conference. “We have tried this over last six years, putting zillions of dollars into transportation, and we have not seen good results.”

Rogers was one of the key Republican votes that killed a T-SPLOST bill last year. And this year he’s in a much more influential position. Senate President pro tem Tommie Williams (R-Lyons), who also voted against the measure last year, was by Rogers side.

“I’m very fearful of moving forward with any funding plan, if there’s not a governance plan,” Rogers said. “We have tried this over last six years, putting zillions of dollars into transportation, and we have not seen good results.”

There was some speculation that Rogers was speaking out of turn. But that has turned out not to be the case.

This afternoon, after much delay, the House named three members to a conference committee on H.B. 277, its sales tax-for-transportation legislation. However, the House failed to put S.B. 200, a revised version of the governor’s transportation plan, up for a floor vote.

This evening, we’re told that Cagle has made a House vote on S.B. 200 a prerequisite for the naming of Senate conferees to any negotiations over the sales tax. Governance and the sales tax for transportation have been linked.

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7 comments Add your comment

Road Scholar

March 31st, 2009
6:59 am

“We have tried this over last six years, putting zillions of dollars into transportation, …” Where? You bonded out monies, which you forgot had to be paid back with interest. $400 million a year- 1/5 of the normal budget! And what did we get? A list of statewide projects selected by legislators! And there process for evaluation? What other monies spent?

Oh by the way Sonny prioritized the coordinated signalization of traffic signals on major routes. What was this outcome? Any report?

Sonny’s new deal let’s the House pick up to 20% of the projects based on available monies. What evaluation will occur besides what legislator’s supporter gets preferential treatment?

We do not need additional politics in selecting transportation projects. The present board is satisfactory if a transparent, documented process is used to evaluate and rate projects is oversean and used.

GoOx

March 31st, 2009
7:57 am

Once again Cagle show’s thats he’s a loser not a leader. First he behind the governance bill, now who knows where he stands. He saw’s you have to tie governance and spending together, then he says they don;t need to be. Now he saw they are tied to get.

My man Ox can straighten this all out

Buckhead

March 31st, 2009
9:07 am

OX wouldnt know where to start,he needs to sit back and take notes,OX ….WHAT A JOKE.

BPJ

March 31st, 2009
9:26 am

I’m hoping that some sensible deal will be struck, due largely to pressure from business. If not, then we will know for certain that today’s Republican party is incapable of governing.

Road Scholar2

March 31st, 2009
9:27 am

I fully agree with Road Scholar. Senator Rogers and his like-minded colleagues have an ax to grind with the DOT & Board. They say there aren’t plans, priorities and formal processes in place. Those are lies. They say that the Board and DOT have squandered $millios. More lies. We are and have been one of the fastest growing states in the nation. That means we add enormous amounts of travel demand onto our transportation systems in case the Governor and legislators haven’t figured that out yet! The Governor wasted millions this past year on a worthless transportation plan that mirrors plans that already exist. I don’t know how much was spent on DOT audits whose findings changed every month? What did it disclose in the end?

At the same time, we hold the line on NO NEW TAXES or new sources of revenue for transportation. Your constituents look to you for good decisions and commons sense. In return, you give them confusion, fictional accounts of malfeasance, less mobility, more time away from their families, fewer buses and trains.

The Governor, Legislature, DOT Board, DOT staff, ARC, GRTA, MARTA etc. can all do better. Please let’s stop making up stories for personal agendas, stop the blame games, fix what’s broken and move on like the people of Georgia expect!!!

DannyX

March 31st, 2009
10:54 am

The good ol’ “I’m going to synchronize metro-Atlanta’s traffic lights promise!” Sonny sure did make that promise. What happened?

One of the latest Republican talking points is “Atlanta land is just too darn expensive. We just can’t build roads there anymore.”

Of course investing in traffic light synchronization would cut drive times, reduce energy use, and reduce the cost of travel, all by at least 10%. Of course the reason this common sense solution has never been funded is because the money would not go to the powerful road builders. Not a peep from the Governor about this project once he took office. Wonder why? Hmmm, follow the money????

Most major cities with big traffic problems have already done this with great success. Metro Atlanta is stuck with third world technology from the 1930’s, just a step above the Flintstones method, a bird inside a box changing the signal.

Maybe these new concepts are just too much for a state like Georgia. A big box of tubes directing traffic. Oh my God!

Road Scholar

March 31st, 2009
12:56 pm

RS2: I didn’t know I had an offspring!?! I agree with you completely except your last paragraph. Leave the Gov and legislature out if you want meaningful, cost effective transportation improvements. This includes transit!