Georgia governor reveals road plan

| Monday, April 26, 2004

Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue unveiled a plan April 14 to spend more than $15 billion over the next six years to improve roads and ease traffic congestion throughout the state.

The spending package includes $3 billion in borrowing from future federal funding. The rest would come from the existing Georgia Department of Transportation budget and $1.5 billion in general obligation bonds, Henry County’s Daily Herald reported.

The bulk of the plan would be funded with $11 billion from the GDOT budget to put projects already in the works on the fast track.

Perdue’s announcement is his most sweeping statement yet on plans to reduce congestion and improve air quality around Atlanta. He said the plan would focus almost exclusively on highway improvements, not mass transit.

The first change would be more high-occupancy vehicle lanes on metro Atlanta highways and an expansion of the HERO program, the network of yellow trucks dispatched to clear accidents and stalled vehicles from highways.

The governor insisted his plan is the fastest way to reduce traffic tie-ups, which will improve air quality because drivers will spend less time idling in traffic jams.

Perdue said in a statement that traffic could be improved without building more highways, but he insisted most money should go to roads because that’s how most people get around.

“This is not simply a build, build, build program,” he said. “We’re also putting more capacity where we need it.”