By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Gov. Kemp proposes additional $1.5 billion for GDOT in amended 2024 budget
Local reps hope to steer the funds toward Hwy. 21 widening
Ann Purcell
Ann Purcell, state transportation board vice chairperson

Special to the Herald


ATLANTA – A recent proposal by Gov. Brian Kemp was music to State Transportation Board Vice Chairperson Ann R. Purcell’s ears.

Kemp recommended an additional $1.5 billion for the Georgia Department of Transportation’s (GDOT) amended 2024 budget for projects that “directly help move commuters and freight.” Purcell praised the move during Effingham Day at the Capitol on Feb. 5 at GDOT headquarters.

Effingham Day at the Capitol is an annual event presented by the Effingham County Chamber of Commerce. It connects local business and government leaders with state policy makers.

Purcell, a Rincon resident, said she is “excited” about the governor’s action.

“We should be very proud and we should continue to talk with our legislative body – the House and the Senate – in regard to keeping that money whole,” she said. “If (legislators) want to do anything, they should let (the amount) rise a little more. But don’t take it away from us, and do not name projects that it goes with.

“We would like them to keep that funding available to us and use what we need throughout the state of Georgia.”

The fiscal 2024 budget lawmakers approved last year included $3.9 billion for GDOT, including more than $2.2 billion in state money and more than $1.5 billion in federal taxpayer funds.

The addition to the transportation budget won’t harm other agencies as the state has a surplus of approximately $16 billion.

While announcing his budget proposal, the governor said the extra funds “will accelerate GDOT’s existing project pipeline, enabling the agency to work further down its list of priority projects that includes those related to Georgia’s two largest economic development projects in state history.”

Kemp was referring to the Hyundai electric vehicle and battery plant at the Bryan County Megasite, and a Rivian Automotive plant east of Atlanta.

If the measure is approved by the legislature, Speaker of the House Jon Burns and Rep. Bill Hitchens are hopeful that some of the extra GDOT funds will be used to add a couple lanes to Ga. Hwy 21 between Rincon and I-95. They have pushed for the addition for several years as Effingham County commuters routinely face lengthy delays on that congested stretch as they head to and from work in Savannah.

Kemp’s budget proposal would boost the annual Local Maintenance and Improvement Grant (LMIG) by $200 million. Local governments use LMIG funds on road engineering, construction, paving and maintenance.

“And we’re going to take away the (LMIG) match requirement,” Burns said earlier in the day at the James H. “Sloppy” Floyd Building. “There is (usually) a 30-percent match requirement in Effingham. We’re going to take that away and that will be a big help.”

The annual LMIG allocation from GDOT is based on the total centerline road miles for each local road system and the total population of each county or city as compared with the total statewide centerline road miles and total statewide population.

Approximately $4 million work of patching, milling, leveling and resurfacing projects that involve 28.283 miles of roads were on the county’s 2023 and 2024 LMIG lists.

The county’s total LMIG funding for 2019-2022 was $3,820,624.81.