Local News

October 9, 2013

State transportation department looking at ‘fiscal cliff’

Georgia’s transportation efforts haven’t been affected much by the federal shutdown. But the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) faces a “fiscal cliff” in 2015 if Congress doesn’t act within the next year, says Commissioner Keith Golden.

“On the highway side, the impact (from the shutdown) has been little to none,” he said.

Those moneys come largely from the federal highway trust fund, which has dedicated funding.

Golden did say there have been some minor issues with the Federal Transit Administration, which provides aid to local transit systems such as bus systems, light rail and subways.

“There have been some glitches, some payment issues,” he said.

Golden spoke Tuesday to the Rotary Club of Dalton, where he warned the agency does face a major funding issue in 2015 if Congress does not pass another transportation bill. Previous federal transportation bills have not expired for five or six years after their passage, but the current transportation bill, passed in 2012, expires on Sept. 30, 2014.

“People say there’s no chance Congress won’t pass a transportation bill by then. Well, our job is to let them know what will happen if they don’t,” Golden said.

He said that without a new transportation bill GDOT will have no new federal authorizations for construction projects in 2015.

“We couldn’t do any design work. We couldn’t buy any right of way. We couldn’t start any new construction projects. We would continue with the projects that are already underway, but no new projects,” he said.

Absent a new bill, the money for new construction would resume in 2016 but at a much lower level.

The problem, Golden said, is that the money generated by the federal fuel tax isn’t enough to fund all of the nation’s highway needs, so Congress has typically added other money to the highway trust fund. Unless Congress passes a new transportation bill the highway trust fund would have to rely solely on those fuel taxes.

GDOT currently relies on federal funding for about 80 percent of its roughly $1 billion capital budget.

“We rely more heavily than other states on federal dollars,” Golden said.

Without a new transportation bill those federal funds could be cut by about 35 percent.

Golden touched on several projects of local interest. The renovation of the Rocky Face interchange at I-75 has recently begun and is expected to be completed by the summer of 2016.

Golden said that a roundabout at the intersection of College Drive and Dug Gap Battle Road is still on the books. But he said there are no plans for a GDOT maintenance barn in Whitfield County because the department has not had money for new facilities in its budget for several years.

The Whitfield County Board of Commissioners and GDOT signed an agreement for a maintenance barn and the county donated land off the south bypass for the building a decade ago. Golden said that if the county finds another use for the land GDOT would consider returning it.

Text Only
Local News
  • Little library 1 mlh.jpg Little Libraries, big goal

    Whitfield County just received a new library.
    And better yet, 26 more are on the way to the region.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Picture 3.jpg Rock solid

    A great number of things have come and gone since 1974.
    One that hasn’t: a small Dalton school founded by parents wanting a unique learning environment for their children.

    July 27, 2014 2 Photos

  • Vann House Day '14 6 mlh.jpg History comes alive at Vann House

    SPRING PLACE — In the early 1800s, the 1,000-acre plantation belonging to Cherokee Indian leader James Vann was a bustling place.

    July 26, 2014 5 Photos

  • Local congressmen agree with Deal

    Regarding news last week that approximately 30 unaccompanied minors from Central America, who had crossed the southern border into the United States, were sent without warning to Dalton last year and enrolled in Dalton Public Schools, Republican politicians representing portions of Murray and Whitfield Counties agree — state and local school officials deserved to know in advance, they say.

    July 26, 2014

  • Former chamber location 2 mlh.jpg Plan could cut flooding, stormwater damage in Dalton

    On a recent day, McClellan Creek flowed gently through Harlan Godfrey Civitan Park. But some park goers who live near the area say that even a mild rain can turn the creek into a torrent that eats away at their property.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Civil War anniversary: The Battle of Crow Valley, May 9-12, 1864

    The Atlanta Campaign began during the first two weeks of May 1864 in and around Dalton. Union Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman’s strategy was to target two of his armies, about 80,000 men, against Confederate Gen. Joseph E. Johnston’s Army of Tennessee at Dalton. Then, while Johnston’s attention was diverted by these forces, he would secretly send his third army, about 25,000 troops under Maj. Gen. James B. McPherson, in a flanking movement to the southwest through Snake Creek Gap. Sherman’s goal was to break Johnston’s railroad supply line some 15 miles south at Resaca and trap Johnston’s Confederates in Dalton.

    July 26, 2014

  • New church being  built mlh.jpg Church construction continues

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Avans.jpg Three arrested in arson plot to claim insurance money

    Three people have been arrested for their role in a fire at a Chatsworth home as part of an insurance scam to collect money, officials said.

    July 25, 2014 3 Photos

  • Investigation into MFG chemical accident continues

    An investigation is still ongoing after a MFG Chemical employee was injured earlier this month at a plant on Kimberly Park Drive.

    July 25, 2014

  • Judge sets $100,000 bond for Cohutta man accused of incest, molestation

    A Cohutta man charged with incest, aggravated sodomy and child molestation was granted a $100,000 bond over the prosecutor’s objection on Friday.

    July 25, 2014