What’s in a name? In Georgia, a good chunk of the state road budget

| 5/28/2003

States across America are scrapping for dollars to keep their roads in decent shape. And many have given up for now on building new ones.

So one might wonder, where can Georgia find thousands of dollars to rename hundreds of roads?

According to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the state has been on a decades-long spending spree, using large quantities of taxpayer dollars to rename roads after everything from newspaper columnists, current and former legislators … and even country music singers.

The newspaper reported that last year, Georgia paid $120,000 of tax money to rename roads. And even though the pace of renaming has dropped, and changes have reduced the cost – 2003 renamings will cost between $14,000 and $20,000 – the practice continues during what many state government observers call the most challenging budget year for states since the Great Depression.

"You can't name a road after everyone," Rep. Ralph Twiggs, D-Hiawassee, told the newspaper. Twiggs is the chairman of the House Transportation Committee. "We've made some progress, but I think we still need to do some work on it."