On Sept. 4, state agencies in Georgia were required to submit their proposed budgets to the governor’s Office of Planning and Budget (OPB). Agencies were instructed to request a 2 percent enhancement and 2 percent reduction for their fiscal year 2009 submissions. These requests will be reviewed by OPB and the governor over the next couple of months. Once the governor has finalized his recommendations, he will present them to the General Assembly in January.
This week’s review includes the formal requests from the Georgia Department of Transportation and the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety within the scope of the Senate Transportation Sub-Committee of the Senate Appropriations, Chaired by Sen. Jeff Mullis.
Department of Transportation
In the amended fiscal year 08 (AFY08) budget, GDOT is requesting an additional $1.7 million in motor fuel funds for most-needed projects in the Local Road Assistance and State Highway Construction and Improvement programs. This increase would raise current spending for Most-Needed project funding from $20,787,879 to $22,492,757. The Most Needed program assists local cities and counties with construction needs and encourages economic development in their areas. The increased amount in motor fuel collections has allowed an opportunity to decrease the percentage of approved priorities versus requested priorities by local governments. In addition to the request to increase Most-Needed project funding, GDOT has requested $23 million for Off-System (bridge projects, urban areas, etc.) projects and $50 million for On-System (state route and interstate) construction funding for AFY08. The increase in Off-System would raise its current spending level from $27 million to $50 million. In FY09, GDOT has also requested to increase On-System construction funding by $13.7 million.
In AFY08, the GDOT also requested $10 million to replace the Tennille District Office facility. This facility was part of the AFY07 requests to repair facilities in 19 counties where some of the buildings are more than 50 years old. Of the 19 county facilities requested to be replaced in AFY07, only Nahunta, Eatonton/Putnam, Louisville/Jefferson, Richmond Hill/Bryan, Woodbine/Camden, LaGrange/Troup, Milledgeville/Baldwin, and Sparta/Hancock were funded in HB 95.
Governor’s Office of Highway Safety
In an effort to make up for the loss of over $2 million in federal dollars over the last year for two programs no longer funded by Congress, GOHS requested $531,721 for travel and to host a grantee conference. The conference would allow GOHS to hold an annual event to network with all GOHS grantees in a controlled environment. In addition, GOHS would like to receive $642,165 for salaries and benefits to operate at the current staffing level to make up for the loss of federal funds and increased GBA rent which doubled on July 1. Georgia is the only Southeastern state that does not meet the minimum 10 percent match for its Highway Safety Office.
Transportation is a critical problem in Georgia and is vital to our prosperity. The Senate will be working with the House, governor and DOT to solve our transportation challenges.
ENERGY STAR sales tax holiday
Georgia’s third annual ENERGY STAR sales tax holiday begins at 12:01 a.m. on Oct. 4 and runs through midnight Oct. 7. The purpose for this tax holiday is to help Georgians conserve energy, save money and protect the environment.
Useful Web sites
Georgia Department of Transportation
Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety
Visit the Legislature’s Home Page at www.legis.state.ga.us
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