When the Governor introduced Senate Bill 200, he said he wanted to dismantle the Georgia Department of Transportation, create a new state agency, realign transportation construction responsibilities and fold the DOT into the appropriations process.
The much leaner plan approved by the committee today does only the last. It ensures the DOT, like every other state agency, must face the General Assemby when budget time rolls around. But the bill, among other things, keeps the existing DOT in place as lead transportation construction agency and keeps GRTA and SERTA operating.
Republican Representative David Ralston describes the measure approved today as a balance between the two legislative bodies.
"I think what it does is allow us to reach a compromise on a bill we can get passed. And it still retains the ability for the General Assembly to appropriate funds."
In previous committee meetings, some House members expressed concern that the original bill stripped the General Assembly of its power to elect board members.
But amendments made today keep that procedure in place.
"There was some concern amongst some members about doing that, I think. And some people were a little reluctant to do that and create a new authority and create a board having that relationship," says Ralston.
The measure will make its way back to the Senate where members will likely disagree with the changes. That will force the bill into a conference committee, where lawmakers from both chambers will try to hash out their differences.
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