A previous version of the regional transportation referendum allowed counties to create their own district, set their own list of projects and have their own referendum. In other words, the effort was not mandated regionalism. The bill failed to pass. Later, the Transportation Investment Act of 2010 (HB 277), mandating regionalism, was passed.
Representative Ed Setzler introduced House Bill 195 in 2013 that would have allowed two or more counties to create their own district, set their own list of projects and have their own referendum. The legislation was viewed as a positive way to maintain local control and solve problems. Unfortunately, the bill never made it to the Senate by crossover day.
The Transportation Investment Act of 2010 imposed a 30% penalty, as a form of intimidation, on regions that failed to pass the measure. We consider it undemocratic to create a bill touted as a referendum, asking the electorate to decide, and penalize them if they oppose the measure.
Senators Albers created Senate Bill 73 to eliminate the regional penalty. Unfortunately, the bill never made it to the House by crossover day.
House Bill 195 was a positive step in the right direction, allowing local governments to control their own destiny, but the State Legislature refused to act.
The State’s “my way or no way at all” approach has been disappointing. There have been no discussions at the state level on creating positive alternatives to Transportation Investment Act of 2010.
Governor Deal has vowed to do nothing at all. The continued push toward regional governance means more bureaucracy, more penalties and less accountability.