Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Perdue to Seek New Road Money; He'll Also Ask Lawmakers to Fund a Pilot Atlanta-to-Griffin Rail Line

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Perdue to Seek New Road Money; He'll Also Ask Lawmakers to Fund a Pilot Atlanta-to-Griffin Rail Line

Article excerpt

Byline: BRANDON LARRABEE

ATLANTA -- New money and options such as commuter rails are needed to solve transportation problems from Georgia's ports to its largest city, Gov. Sonny Perdue said Thursday, sparking hope that a political logjam on fixes for roads and passenger rail could be broken by the time lawmakers begin a new session in January.

Perdue endorsed new funding and commuter rail while discussing his "Investing in Tomorrow's Transportation Today" initiative during a news conference in his office. He was flanked by the state Transportation Board and Gena Abraham, commissioner of the state Department of Transportation.

The governor failed to specify a source for the new money, and efforts to raise any kind of taxes are likely to meet stiff resistance in the General Assembly as the economy has slowed.

"I think most of us believe at the end of the day it's going to take even more additional resources," Perdue said. "I think what we hope to do by this legislative session coming up is to quantify that, to be able to give the citizens of Georgia a look at what we think ought to happen and an estimate of what we think it will take and the various ways that we expect to fund those needs."

The governor said he would ask legislators to set aside funding for a commuter-rail line from Atlanta to Griffin as a pilot project for similar initiatives, including the Atlanta-to-Athens line supporters call "the Brain Train."

Perdue said committed federal funding made the southward "Lovejoy Line" a better first choice.

"It's much easier to accomplish right now," he said. "When you want to do these things new, you want to do, I think, the easiest things first to make sure you're a success there, then to lead into other directions," he said. "We know that ridership may be more initially [by going] other ways, but it'd much longer and much more difficult to implement. …

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