With two days remaining in the legislative session, the Georgia Legislature passed HB 170, the Transportation Funding Act of 2015 late Tuesday night. While the bill falls short of the goals set by the legislature’s Joint Study Committee on Critical Transportation Infrastructure Funding that toured the State last fall, the bill does provide more consistent funding toward the maintenance and improvement of Georgia’s transportation infrastructure. While the joint study committee recommended a minimum of $1 – $1.5 billion in annual funding, the compromise reached by a conference committee of Senators and Representatives is expected to generate $900 million in annual, dedicated transportation funding.
The bill replaces the current gasoline sales tax with an excise tax of 26 cents per gallon on gasoline and 29 cents per gallon on diesel fuel. Additional funding is provided through a $200 fee on personal electric vehicles and a $300 fee for commercial electric vehicles, a $5 per night hotel room tax, and a heavy truck impact fee of $50-$100 year based on the weight of the truck. The excise tax on motor fuels will be indexed on the Consumer Price Index and Federal fuel efficiency standards.
The bill ends the $5,000 tax credit for electric cars purchased after July 1st and eliminates a tax break on jet-fuel. The legislation also allows local governments to continue to tax gasoline sales, but caps those fees at $3 per gallon and limits use of the funding stream to transportation projects.