by Walter C. Jones Morris News Service
(Published in the Rome News-Tribune)
04.24.10 – 09:01 pm
ATLANTA — If getting the General Assembly to finally agree on a transportation-funding plan after three years sounds complicated and plagued by politics, wait until the leaders of 500 cities and 159 counties try to get come to terms.
The 29-page bill that eventually cleared the legislature runs about 10 times the length of the average bill and just as complex. It inserts more state influence into Atlanta’s Marta transit system, gives the Senate a veto over the governor’s pick for transportation-planning director, creates the woefully named Georgia Coordinating Committee for Rural and Human Services Transportation of the Governor’s Development Council, and it sets the mechanism for a higher sales tax to fund transportation.
Although it’s been under discussion for three years, the specific bill, or rather the report of the six-member conference committee, was only placed on legislator’s desks the minimum one hour before they voted at the end of a long, busy day.