Transportation Funding adds $5 fee to motel, hotel bills

Published 7:30 pm Thursday, July 2, 2015

The recently passed Transportation Funding Act, the Georgia legislature’s $900 million plan for improving transportation infrastructure in the state, went into effect Wednesday, creating a slight increase in gas taxes.

But gasoline isn’t the only commodity seeing a price hike because of the bill. To help increase transportation revenues, an extra $5 per night fee has been tacked onto hotel and motel bills across the state.

The fee is expected to raise $150 million a year in Georgia for transportation purposes, but some in the hospitality industry in Decatur County have expressed their concern with the new law.

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Andy Patel of Glen Oaks Motel on Tallahassee Highway said it could result in a loss in profit for his business.

“Independent people and poor people on the road, they hurt because of stuff like that,” Patel said. “If people stay seven days they have to pay extra $35. With that money they can have one more night.”

According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, State Rep. Jay Roberts said the legislature chose the hotel fee over a rental car fee because the burden of payment would be shifted to non-locals traveling through Georgia. The AJC reported around 50 percent of Georgians rent their cars in-state, whereas far less stay in hotels.

Senator Dean Burke said he believed those who proposed that part of the bill were looking for sources of revenue that would have the least ill effect on the economy.

“Nobody likes an increase in any sort of fee or tax, but the bottom line though is the roads are deteriorating way faster than the Department of Transportation could repair,” Burke said. “I was told of 150 bridges in my district that are in need of repair. You start thinking about school buses going over country business and what can happen.”