SB 200 will drastically revamp the Department of Transportation, shifting much of the power over the agency’s $2 billion yearly budget to the governor and, to a lesser extent, the legislators. The office of governor, already one of the strongest in the country, becomes that much more powerful with the ability to control which highways get built and which do not.
“Mark my words,” said Rep. Alan Powell (D-Hartwell), a longtime House member. “It may take three years; it may take six months, but we just changed the face of politics in Georgia.”
Perdue’s ultimate goal in getting SB 200 adopted may be to facilitate the awarding of major contracts to private companies that want to take over the construction and management of public highways in Georgia. One of the world’s leading private developers of toll roads is Cintra, an international conglomerate based in Spain. Cintra has built and operated such major American highways as the Chicago Skyway and the Indiana Toll Road.
When Perdue flew to Spain last September with a contingent of business leaders - at the same time that Georgia motorists were struggling to cope with a severe gasoline shortage - one of the companies he met with was Cintra. That could be the ultimate legacy of SB 200 - Georgians paying high tolls to drive on highways owned by a European conglomerate. You heard it here first.