Georgia will need more than a regional transportation sales tax to ensure the future viability of its transportation infrastructure, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle said Monday.
Speaking to the Gainesville Rotary Club at First Baptist Church’s Fellowship Hall, Cagle said a regional transportation sales tax — which will be decided in an election next July — is “one method” of dealing with Georgia’s lack of transportation infrastructure.
With revenues from motor fuel tax declining with no chance of rebound as motorists drive shorter distances in more fuel-efficient vehicles, the state’s leaders have been searching for ways to continue to fund transportation projects.
Georgians will decide next year whether they’d like to use a 1 percent sales tax to fund some projects in their areas.
“(Special purpose local option sales taxes) is something that has a great track record for our state,” Cagle said. “...That is one method of funding the needs of transportation.”
But Cagle said Georgia will also have to begin looking at other options, including embracing toll roads, expanding transit options and “(utilizing) our assets in a more efficient manner.”
“Transit’s going to be very, very important long-term for the viability of our region,” Cagle said.
With the third option, Cagle referred to other states that have moveable medians, creating more lanes on the side of the interstate with the most traffic at a certain time of day.
“That’s utilizing the existing asset in a more efficient manner,” he said. “That needs to be done.”
Tolls, Cagle said, would be the best way to fund new infrastructure, like an east-west connector between Interstates 75 and 85.