Gov. Deal signs off on HB 170

Published 7:33 pm Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Monday, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal signed H.B. 170, the Transportation Funding Act of 2015, into law.

The new law is estimated to generate almost $1 billion in new transportation funding annually, according to the governor’s office. The law, which goes into effect July 1, will change how the state gas tax is calculated. Almost $700 million is expected to come from a shift to an excise tax of 26 cents per gallon of gasoline and 29 cents per gallon of diesel. The act will remove the four percent state sales tax on gasoline, leaving just the excise tax and local sales taxes.

“We’ve reached the point where we can no longer keep up with the growing infrastructure demand that encourages job creation, maintains our businesses’ bottom lines and takes us home to our families. This investment reflects our modern-day population and current infrastructure usage,” Deal said in a statement. “Without this bold action taken by Georgia’s legislators, our state was at risk of falling behind.”

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Georgia State Senator Dean Burke, addressing the Rotary Club last week, said that customers will see an increase of five-to-six cents at the pump, but stressed that the bill was needed because federal funds have dried up.

The Bainbridge City Council, the Decatur County Board of Commissioners and the Decatur County Board of Education each adopted resolutions formally opposing earlier versions of the transportation bill that severely altered local sales taxes on fuel and would potentially take more than $600,000 in tax revenue from the BoE.

After a lot of back and forth, the Georgia Senate and Georgia House of Representatives agreed on a version that would leave local option sales taxes, including E-SPLOST, intact.