Anyone driving on our crowded roadways during rush hour knows that more must be done to ease congestion and to get people moving again. Rep. Cooper says she certainly understands why citizens are frustrated. "I live 19 miles from the Capitol and most mornings it takes me an hour to get there, if I leave before 7:00 am, and returning home is often worse. Thank goodness for books on tape."
Last year, the legislature started the improvement process by making changes to the way the Department of Transportation Board functions and by creating a new independent planning director.
This year a meaningful, regional transportation plan is moving through the legislative process with a top priority designation. HB 218 is a consensus bill that is supported by the Governor and the House and Senate leaders.
The bill will enable voters in different regions around the state to decide on specific transportation projects in their area and to fund these regional projects with a penny sales tax. Local elected officials in each region will put together a list of vital programs in their region that need to be fast forwarded. A referendum will then be on the 2012 ballot in order to give citizens of Georgia a voice on how their dollars are spent.
There will be twelve special tax districts, and all of the revenue will stay in the district from which it was collected. There will be an eight year sunset which means that the tax will be repealed in 2020.