Georgia panel nears approval to continue work on freight movement
July 8, 2020
Efforts to improve freight movement throughout Georgia via road and rail may soon get the go-ahead to continue.
The Georgia Legislature wrapped up its work last month but not before approving legislation to address the movement of freight.
Attention to freight movement
Over the past year, leading lawmakers have given attention to the issue of freight movement throughout the state.
The Georgia Commission on Freight & Logistics has been meeting since last summer to come up with plans to reduce traffic congestion and enhance freight movement. The panel – made up of state lawmakers, local government officials, logistics professionals and other leaders of organizations and state agencies – was established by a 2019 legislative resolution.
Among the group’s findings is a need to continue to consider “unique and specific solutions” for the trucking industry to reduce the driving risks for professional drivers and motorists, expand dedicated lanes for freight movement, and reduce traffic impacts in and out of the ports and around metropolitan areas.
“As a huge distribution hub, with 84% of freight moving on trucks, and an ever-growing population, mobility of people and freight faces increasing challenges,” read the commission’s findings.
Truck parking concerns
Further, the group found that freight statewide is expected to increase 30% by 2045 and by 56% in metro Atlanta by 2040.
“The lack of parking is an issue in need of a solution as soon as possible.”
The unmet need of investments over the next three decades range from $135 billion to $153 billion. An additional $3 billion to $4 billion annually in state and federal funds is necessary over that time period.
Senate Transportation Committee Chair Brandon Beach, R-Alpharetta, said to ensure Georgia remains a top state in which to do business, state and local leaders must work to promote a comprehensive freight and logistics plan.
In an effort to address their findings, the commission has recommended that the state spend up to $120 billion over 30 years to support the transportation sector.
The group, led by Beach and House Transportation Committee Chair Kevin Tanner, R-Dawsonville, plans to continue its work soon on recommendations for how to raise money to accomplish their goals.
However, in order to continue their work the Legislature and governor must authorize extending the work of the commission. A measure signed into law last year limited their work to one year.
“There is still work to be done and recreating the commission will allow commission members the opportunity to further study this industry expansion,” Beach stated.
Both chambers voted unanimously to send a resolution, HR935, to Gov. Brian Kemp for his signature to continue the commission’s work.