The Georgia Department of Transportation says it is grateful to finally have a consistent source of funding it can count on. The tax money, approved by legislators last year with the passage of House Bill 170, is slated to pay for road maintenance projects that have been put on hold for years.
With $1 billion a year in new transportation funding projected in the next few years, some state lawmakers are now looking to future transportation needs.
At a forum hosted by the Georgia Transportation Alliance and Perimeter Community Improvement District on Friday, Republican state Sen. Brandon Beach said this funding frees up other money for new transportation projects, such as expanding regional mass transit in the Atlanta area.
"There's a lot of momentum right now," Beach said. "Gas prices are low. People are seeing roads being built. Interstates 285 and 400 are getting ready to go under construction. And GDOT and MARTA are working together better than they ever have."
Roads can now be resurfaced every seven to 14 years instead of every 50 years, according to House Transportation Committee Chairman and Republican state Rep. Christian Coumer.
Coumer said traffic will improve with roads in good condition, and with less freight traffic on main roads.
"We know that about 50 percent of the freight traffic in Atlanta is not coming to Atlanta, it's just going through Atlanta," Coumer said. "So to the extent we can find ways to get those freight carriers off of the roads in Atlanta, I think you're going to see a lot of relief in congestion."
GDOT said it is also looking to make bold visible striping on the roads a priority this year to prepare for self-driving cars.