How much does Georgia spend on Transportation?

The state of Georgia expected to take in over 14 Billion Dollars of income taxes and general sales taxes for 2010. How much of that general revenue do you think they spent on roads?

Ten percent? Not even close. Five percent? Dream on. One percent? Nope. Try less than 1/10 of one percent. Yes you read that right. Out of 14 Billion Dollars in sales taxes and income taxes the state of Georgia spent a measly 15 million on the entire Department of Transportation.

That means less than 1/10 of one percent of those general taxes went toward maintaining and improving the lifeblood of our state. For perspective, the state spent more than 2 Billion Dollars on community health departments but .0075 of that for the roads that allow Georgians to get to the hospital and drugstore. The state did spend other money on the Department of Transportation in 2010. Fuel taxes or other money from the federal government made up 99.24% of the state DOT’s budget.

In 2012 the state of Georgia will ask voters to raise taxes on themselves because infrastructure needs are so dire the situation demands it. I submit to you that a lack of money isn’t the problem and raising taxes shouldn’t be the solution. If Georgia spent more than 1/10 of one percent of the 14 Billion they already collect on infrastructure there wouldn’t be a problem in the first place.

(Update 3/5/2011)

Regular reader Lee from rootsinalpharetta.com asked for clarification on this post so I am adding the following explanation to hopefully clear up any confusion.

As I mentioned in the article more than 99% of the state DOT budget of approximately 2 billion dollars is funded by fuel taxes and federal money. Georgia drivers pay about 800 million dollars in fuel taxes for the DOT and the feds kick in the other 1.2 billion.

Based on that it appears a person who doesn’t drive a car in Georgia pays less than the cost of a round trip ticket on MARTA for the state’s entire Department of Transportation. Since the DOT is responsible for making sure groceries can reach stores, ambulances can reach homes and buses can reach schools that seems like a heckuva bargain.

The point being that instead of proposing another huge tax increase for transportation projects the state of Georgia should reevaluate the way they spend the 15 Billion already being collected.

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