Gov. Sonny Perdue wants lawmakers to create a infrastructure bank to help local governments with their transportation projects.

He announced earlier this week that legislation to create the Georgia State Transportation Infrastructure Bank has been filed by Rep. John Lunsford, R-Mcdonough, as a part of the 2008 session.

The bank’s initial capitalization will be $50 million, which would come from motor fuel funds and state general funds.

The bank will make funding available to cities, counties, transit operators, and community improvement districts, as they are most aware of what’s needed for an integrated transportation system that supports local economic growth and relieves traffic congestion, according to the governor’s office.

The bank would provide low interest rate loans and flexible repayment terms. And as a revolving loan fund, dollars that are paid back will continually be made available for new transportation projects.

The bank would be maintained and operated through the Georgia State Road and Tollway Authority.

Projects would be selected for funding through the bank based on criteria that promote economic development and those that need “gap financing” to finish needed projects. Eligible projects will include roads, bridges, transit vehicles and facilities, bicycle and pedestrian facilities, rail, and airports. A task force of state and local agencies and the tollway authority will draft the selection criteria.

Last week, state transportation officials announced that the program to create public-private partnerships needed review and some projects needed to be scaled back because of a lack of funding.

If the legislation is successful, Georgia will join 32 other states that have transportation infrastructure banks, which have disbursed a total of $3.7 billion to more than 450 projects, according to the governor’s office.

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