ATLANTA — Gov. Nathan Deal signed a new $900 million transportation bill into law Monday, spurring changes to the state's gas taxes and new fees on electric cars and hotel visits.
The law becomes effective July 1. State transportation officials have said the new revenue will go toward a backlog of road and bridge maintenance.
The package sets gas taxes at 26 cents per gallon. It also creates a $200 fee on electric vehicles and a $5 per night fee at hotels and motels, while eliminating tax breaks for electric vehicle owners and jet fuel purchases by Delta Air Lines.
Deal, who signed the bill in a ceremony at the state Capitol, said Georgia hadn't increased taxes on fuel since 1971. He said the projects are a critical need.
“Each day, Georgians set out in the pursuit of a brighter future, and it is our roads and bridges that bear the weight of our success,” the governor said in a prepared statement.
“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. Today, we are ensuring that Georgia’s economic engine will remain running for generations to come.”
The legislation is based off recommendations from the Joint Study Committee on Critical Infrastructure Funding, which was tasked with identifying funding solutions for Georgia's transportation needs.
The new law will generate nearly $1 billion in new transportation funding annually.
"Georgia’s economic future depends on our ability to move people and goods quickly and safely throughout our state,” said Sen. Steve Gooch, committee co-chairman and a Dahlonega Republican whose 51stDistrict includes north Forsyth.
“Strengthening our transportation network affects each and every one of us by creating an environment that encourages private-sector job growth and allowing us to make it home in time for family dinner and Little League games."
Some conservative lawmakers opposed the bill, calling it a massive tax increase.