Gov. Sonny Perdue just lifted the lid off what will be his biggest foray of his administration into the transportation issue. Among highlights:
– $300 million in general obligation bonds in next year’s budget. The list of projects would be approved by the Legislature. Perdue said he hoped subsequent governors would recommend similar amounts for the next 10 years.
– A one-penny sales tax would be pushed to 2012, a presidential election year. The vote would be statewide, but voters would be divided into 12 regions. Regions that approve the vote would get the sales tax revenue generated in that district. Regions that don’t approve it won’t get anything.
– The 2012 vote would be approved this session by the Legislature, by majority vote of both chambers. We’re not exactly sure how this works, and look forward to getting more details.
The timing of the vote is significant. Perdue said that the delay would allow the economy to right itself first. Republican legislative leaders said this week they didn’t think a statewide referendum would pass anywhere in the state.
The irony is that Republican leaders in Georgia may be relying on a 2012 surge of general election voters – drawn by Barack Obama’s re-election bid – to finally put more money into transportation.
The timing may also be intended to defuse transportation as an issue in the 2010 race for governor.
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