This article appeared in the February 2018 issue of the Georgia's Cities newspaper.
Georgia’s roadway infrastructure network is a key reason the state has been named the No.1 state in the nation in which to do business. Companies that choose Georgia no doubt rely on this network and its seamless connections to key intermodal hubs like Hartsfield Jackson International Airport and the Port of Savannah to remain competitive in a global marketplace. To continue to be the best state in which to do business Georgia has continued to invest in its roadway infrastructure. House Bill 170, approved in 2015, was a landmark step that will generate nearly $1 billion annually. But additional innovate financing mechanisms also continue to be funded and made available to Georgia’s local governments.
Created by the Georgia Legislature in 2009, the Georgia Transportation Infrastructure Bank (GTIB) is a grant and low-interest loan program administered by the State Road and Tollway Authority (SRTA). Since its inception, the GTIB has provided over $105 million in grants and loans to highly competitive transportation projects that have enhanced mobility in local communities throughout Georgia. Innovative financing programs like GTIB accelerate project completion, infuse additional capital funding and leverage existing transportation funding resources, all of which helps Georgia’s economy thrive.
Many grant and loan recipients recognize the ability for GTIB funds to expedite project delivery. As a recent example, Spalding County received a $915,000 grant to realign a major intersection near Downtown Griffin. By receiving the grant, the county is now able to expedite right-of-way acquisition and construction, allowing a critical and locally prioritized project to be completed quicker.
Accelerating needed mobility benefits in turn supports economic vitality at the local level and benefits Georgia’s economy. In June 2017, GTIB awarded $1.5 million to the Assembly CID to provide road and utility access to the General Motors Assembly Plant in Doraville, which is under redevelopment. These funds expedited the redevelopment process which will help spur significant private investment in the area. More than 200,000 square feet of office space employing 500 people are now expected to be in place by 2019.
By providing an additional source of transportation capital, GTIB funds also help local communities maintain funding that may have been rescinded otherwise. A $1.7 million loan to the city of Clarkston to improve roadway infrastructure in their downtown served as the required match for federal funds, potentially preventing the funds from being returned. The loan will allow the city to defer and distribute project debt over several budget years and continue to implement a critical local economic development project.
GTIB also leverages local government and private resources. The $105 million in grants and loans provided to date have leveraged over $630 million in total project value. By supplementing traditional funding, innovative financing mechanisms such as GTIB allow scarce local transportation dollars to go further. By leveraging local and private dollars, the state’s transportation dollar goes further as well, resulting in a powerful partnership between state, local governments and the private sector that benefits all of Georgia.
Thanks to the support of the GTIB program by the Georgia Legislature and Gov. Nathan Deal, the State Road and Tollway Authority is also pleased to announce that additional GTIB funding will be available in 2018. Applications are now open through March 22. All requested funding must be motor fuel tax eligible and must be requested by eligible applicants, which include Georgia cities, counties, CID’s and regional commissions. Please contact GTIBinfo@srta.ga.gov or go to our website at www.srta. ga.gov/gtib/
for applications and more details on the GTIB program.