Download
HTML Embed
HTML EMBED
Click to Copy
Marketplace Morning Report

An artist in residence (she can afford)

Jun 24, 2019

Latest Episodes

Download
HTML Embed
HTML EMBED
Click to Copy
Marketplace Morning Report
Download
HTML Embed
HTML EMBED
Click to Copy
Marketplace Morning Report
Download
HTML Embed
HTML EMBED
Click to Copy
Marketplace Tech
Download
HTML Embed
HTML EMBED
Click to Copy
Make Me Smart with Kai and Molly
Download
HTML Embed
HTML EMBED
Click to Copy
Download
HTML Embed
HTML EMBED
Click to Copy
Marketplace Morning Report
Download
HTML Embed
HTML EMBED
Click to Copy
Marketplace Morning Report
Download
HTML Embed
HTML EMBED
Click to Copy
Marketplace Morning Report
Download
HTML Embed
HTML EMBED
Click to Copy
Download
HTML Embed
HTML EMBED
Click to Copy
Marketplace

Georgia ready to roll on many transportation projects

Marketplace Contributor Jan 8, 2016
Share Now on:
HTML EMBED:
COPY

Just north of Atlanta, workers unload a dump truck full of dirt at what will be the entrance point to an express tollway. When finished in 2018, these toll lanes will help commuters avoid the region’s notorious rush hour traffic.

That project managed to get funding in the past. But the state made no headway on a host of other road projects — until now. So state transportation officials breathed a loud sigh of relief after President Barack Obama signed a five-year transportation bill into law for about $300 billion.

Congress had been paying for some road and bridge projects through a series of quick fixes. That approach created headaches for states and construction companies. But now, they’re ready to roll.

“We’ve got shelves of projects. You know, just because we didn’t have certainty as federal funding is concerned doesn’t mean we didn’t continue to plan,” said Natalie Dale, spokeswoman for the Georgia Department of Transportation.

The state will start clearing off those shelves next month. There’s everything from highway beautification to resurfacing and maintenance on Interstates.

Georgia couldn’t put those projects out to bid, because the DOT wasn’t sure federal dollars would be there.

“And this is key because federal funding is about one-fourth of state transportation spending on average,” said Anne Stauffer at the Pew Charitable Trusts. She said the short-term fixes passed by Congress forced states to delay major projects and focus on small, shovel-ready jobs.

Randy Lake likes shovel-ready, but he loves big-ticket items. He’s CEO of Atlanta-based Oldcastle Materials, which provides asphalt and concrete to more than 40 states.

“What we have started to build over the last 10 or 15 years is just the capacity to take on larger work, because we would just anticipate and see by pure population growth the need for the need for increased and better infrastructure,” Lake said. Now, he looks forward to helping states meet a pent-up demand for major highway projects. “What will be exciting is having kind of a five year view to be able to actually execute on jobs or projects that increase capacity,” he said.

But there’s one job Congress didn’t execute on — raising the federal gas tax, which fills the coffers of the highway trust fund. It hasn’t gone up since the early ’90’s, and collections are falling short.

That could lead to more uncertainty for states when the transportation bill expires in 2020.

If you’re a member of your local public radio station, we thank you — because your support helps those stations keep programs like Marketplace on the air.  But for Marketplace to continue to grow, we need additional investment from those who care most about what we do: superfans like you.

Your donation — as little as $5 — helps us create more content that matters to you and your community, and to reach more people where they are – whether that’s radio, podcasts or online.

When you contribute directly to Marketplace, you become a partner in that mission: someone who understands that when we all get smarter, everybody wins.