Georgia could lose $1.2 billion in highway funds - CBS46 News

Georgia could lose $1.2 billion in highway funds

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With the Highway Trust Fund about to go broke, Georgia could lose $1.2 billion in federal funding for road projects.

"If we can't depend on the federal government to have things under control, what will we do?" asked Natalie Dale, spokeswoman for the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT).

Dale said the state relies on the federal government for 80 percent of matching funds on road projects and without that money, new road work cannot be started.

A team from GDOT recently went to Washington to lobby Georgia's members of Congress.

"It could hit us in the future in our pocket," said Dale. "It's something Georgians haven't been faced with."

Dale said without federal funding, residents could see higher gas taxes or more tolls on state highways.

The Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) is also concerned. The agency passed a resolution, urging Congress to work something out to save the fund from running out of money. ARC has also sent letters to members of Georgia's delegation in Congress.

"It is certainly a crisis that we need to move very quickly to solve in Washington," said John Orr, manager of ARC's transportation division.

Orr said key projects that would enhance safety and reduce congestion will not be started.

"We've never been faced with the situation before where our state's been unable to authorize new projects at the beginning of a fiscal year," said Orr.

Georgia's fiscal year begins July 1.

Transportation leaders said they will continue to push those in Congress to find money for the highway fund.

"It may not only hit Georgian's in their pocketbook in the future, but it will hit them when they're on the road, when they're sitting in traffic," said Dale.

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