Voters will be asked Tuesday to give the Georgia Department of Transportation the flexibility to enter into multi-year construction agreements.

Currently, GDOT is required to have all the funds in hand when a multi-year project contract is signed.

An investigation last year uncovered that the accrual accounting practice was already in use at the agency, which used cash flow to pay for its total construction program, effectively enabling it to award multi-year contracts based on the expectation of receiving future revenues.

While many states already use this method, Georgia auditors said there was no provision in state law to use the accrual methodology and a change in the constitution would be needed. At the time, concern was also expressed about whether the constitutional violation might affect Georgia’s triple-A ratings.

Earlier this year, lawmakers placed a constitutional amendment on next week’s ballot asking whether to allow GDOT to use accrual accounting. Supporters argue it would give the department flexibility to do more transportation projects with limited funding, leverage funds, and enhance the use of public-private partnerships.

Georgia needs an estimated $65 billion over the next 20 to 30 years to fund its statewide transportation plan.

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