Summer road construction could come to a halt over lack of funds

by: Kerry Kavanaugh Updated:

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ATLANTA —

More than $1 billion is at stake for road projects across the state of Georgia.
 
Channel 2's Kerry Kavanaugh spoke with the commissioner of the Georgia Department of Transportation about why summer road construction could soon come to a halt.
 
“Summer is usually major construction season. You’re to get projects out, get them going and keeping your highway contractors working,” said GDOT Commissioner Keith Golden. “It’s a huge impact to our state.”
 
Golden says he can’t green-light projects that the state can’t pay for. Kavanaugh met with Golden along with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution as he explained how a depleted federal highway trust fund is going off a cliff.
 
Right now, every time you fill up your car, 18.4 cents goes into a federal highway fund. Those dollars come back to the states for road projects. But that fund is expected to run dry by August.
 
“Ten to 12 cents a gallon is what you would have to raise the federal gas tax to keep it at its federal funding levels,” Golden said.
 
And since raising prices at the pump is wildly unpopular in Washington, D.C., it’s unclear how the Feds plan to keep the highway trust fund solvent.
 
Without it, the state will not approve any new construction beyond June 30.
 
That puts the breaks on repaving Buford Highway from the DeKalb line to Old Peachtree Road and building a roundabout on Interstate 285 at Riverside Drive, and dozens more.
 
“We’re confident they’ll do something, we just don’t know what that something will look like,” Golden said.