Georgia Department of Transportation Commissioner Russell McMurry said Wednesday he “is very excited” to see how a $3 trillion economic stimulus bill that passed the U.S. House last week progresses in Congress.
The Democratic-sponsored bill contains transportation funding that “would come to the states in a formula amount,” he said. “And it can … pay for operations, maintenance and administrative expenses, including payroll, which generally federal dollars never do.”
McMurry, speaking during a May 20 transportation forum presented by the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce, said federal funding for transportation ends Sept. 30, so Congress “is going to have to figure out how to fund transportation moving forward. So, this is a very important time.”
The House bill, however, isn’t likely to gain much early traction in the Republican-controlled Senate.
Republicans and President Donald Trump have already rejected the bill, with leaders calling for a “pause” to allow earlier coronavirus recovery spending to work.
The bill calls for giving Americans a new round of $1,200 stimulus checks, but also would give cash-strapped states and local governments more than $1 trillion.
Earlier this month, Georgia lawmakers in charge of the state budget sent a memo asking agencies to prepare for cuts of 14% across the board, totaling nearly $4 billion.
The memo was sent by state House Appropriations Chair Terry England, Senate House Appropriations Chair Blake Tillery and Kelly Farr, director of the Governor's Office of Planning and Budget. It made clear that no areas would be spared, including funding for education and public health.
McMurry said he plans to present the DOT’s fiscal 2021 budget to the State Transportation Board on Thursday, May 21.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.