From the AJC's Gold Dome Live political blog:
A bill that gives lawmakers direct control over how billions in tax dollars are spent on state transportation cleared the House today by the barest of margins after House leaders twisted arms to gain five key votes.
Speaker Glenn Richardson (R-Hiram) cast the deciding vote to give House approval to S.B. 200 after holding the vote open while his lieutenants persuaded skeptics to switch their vote.
When the vote on the transportation governance bill finally came, it appeared to be on its way to defeat, judging by the live vote recorded on the electronic boards in the House. Even Transportation Committee Chairman Vance Smith (R-Pine Mountain) voted against it.
The bill is a key component in Gov. Sonny Perdue’s legislative agenda for the year. In fact, Perdue has demanded the state’s transportation governance be overhauled before he would consider a new method for paying for transportation projects.
Perdue’s original proposal was to abolish the Department of Transportation — and its board — and replace it with a new agency controlled by the governor, speaker of the House, the lieutenant governor and a newly created secretary of transportation.
That’s largely the plan the Senate has adopted. But the House version that squeaked out today dumps most of that plan, leaves in place the DOT and its board and creates a new position there of director of planning who would oversee much of the actual work of building roads and bridges.
Richardson was the last to speak and regaled the House with the woeful tale of his failed 17-year effort to get a road in his home of Paulding County widened.
More context on all this here.
Since the passage of this bill was a condition for Perdue & Co. to support the T-SPLOST initiative, we'll see what happens with that legislation tomorrow & Friday.
Please contact your elected officials and demand that they support the regional TSPLOST plan.