Road delay bill vetoed in Georgia

| 6/19/2007

Gov. Sonny Perdue dropped the ax on a bill that sought to get tough with contractors who cause construction delays on Georgia roads.

Sponsored by Rep. Ben Harbin, R-Evans, the bill would have prevented companies that fall more than 25 percent behind on public works or state Transportation Department construction contracts from bidding on new projects. The bill – HB202 – clarified the delay would need to be the contractors’ fault. Reasons beyond the contractors control would not have applied, The Augusta Chronicle reported.

Harbin said the protection for the state is needed to make sure contracts are completed in a timely manner.

Perdue said in his veto statement that the measure was too broad. He took issue with the requirement that GDOT be responsible with checking up on contractors’ work for other state agencies.

“HB202 would inadvertently require all public works contracts to be reviewed by the Department of Transportation to determine both the length and the cause of any delay, even if the DOT was not the contracting state entity. This is beyond the scope of the DOT’s mission,” Perdue said.

The governor did put his signature on a bill to hold utility companies’ feet to the fire on road work. Sponsored by Sen. Jim Whitehead, R-Evans, the bill holds utility companies responsible for construction delays if they don’t move their lines quickly enough. Companies found in violation would be responsible for paying road contractors.

The bill – SB19 – takes effect July 1.

– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor