Georgia Department of Transportation

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Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT)
Gdot logo.png
Agency overview
Formed 1972
Preceding agencies State Highway Department
Georgia State Highway Commission
Jurisdiction Georgia, U.S.
Headquarters Atlanta
Employees 5817 (2008)[1]
Annual budget Decrease US$ 4.240 billion (2008)[1]
Agency executive Keith Golden, Commissioner
Website http://www.dot.ga.gov/
Footnotes
17,986 Total Miles

The Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) is the organization in charge of developing and maintaining all state and federal roadways in the U.S. state of Georgia. In addition to highways, the department also has a limited role in developing public transportation and general aviation programs. GDOT is headquartered in downtown Atlanta and is part of the executive branch of state government. [2]

GDOT has broken up the state of Georgia into seven districts in order to facilitate regional development. Each district is responsible for the planning, design, construction and maintenance of the state and federal highways in their region.

History[edit]

The State Highway Department was created on August 16, 1916 by an act of the Legislature.on August 16, 1916. Two years later, in 1918, the creation of the State Highway Department was followed by creation of the Georgia State Highway Commission, which made surveys and oversaw plans for road projects in Georgia.[3] Finally, in 1972, it was followed by the creation of the Georgia Department of Transportation by former Governor Jimmy Carter.[4]

Roles and Responsibilities[edit]

The Georgia Department of Transportation plans, constructs, maintains and improves the state's road and bridges; provides planning and financial support for other modes of transportation such as mass transit and airports; provides airport and air safety planning; and provides air travel to state departments. The Department also provides administrative support to the State Road and Tollway Authority and the Georgia Rail Passenger Authority.

A majority of the Department's resources are directed toward maintaining and improving the state's network of roads and bridges. Proceeds from the state's motor fuel taxes are constitutionally earmarked solely for use on Georgia's roads and bridges. Non-road and bridge construction projects are supported by a combination of state general funds, federal funds and local funds.

The Department is responsible for waterways, including the intercoastal waterway and the Savannah and Brunswick ports. Additionally, the department is responsible for rail transit.

Ground transportation[edit]

Highway system[edit]

I-75 Interstate shield

The state of Georgia has 1,244 miles of interstate highway within its borders. Georgia's major Interstate Highways are I-95, I-75, I-16, I-85, I-20 . Other important interstate highways are I-24 and I-59. I-285 is Atlanta's perimeter route and I-575 connects with counties in north Georgia on I-75 and I-675 connects to I-285 on the south side of Atlanta. I-475 is a western bypass of Macon, shortening the trip for through I-75 traffic.[5] The Georgia Department of Transportation maintains only 16 percent of the roads in the state. The other 84 percent are the responsibility of the counties and cities; 75 percent of those roads are county roads.[6]

The Freeing the Freeways program is a project which involved widening some of the freeways in Atlanta. The project took 17 years to create, cost $1.5 billion, and doubled Atlanta's freeway lane miles from 900 to 1,851 miles (1,448 to 2,979 km). One freeway that was involved in the project was the I-75/I-85 Downtown Connector. Another project was the construction of the Tom Moreland Interchange.

Railroads[edit]

Georgia boasts one of the most extensive freight rail systems in the U.S., with some 5,000 miles of track that run through almost all of the state’s 159 counties. The system primarily consists of two Class 1 railroads—Norfolk Southern and CSX—and 25 shortlines.

Georgia DOT and Rail[edit]

Georgia DOT owns nearly 540 miles of light density rail line. Approximately 90 percent of the 540 miles is leased to a shortline operator. The remaining 10 percent is leased to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources for use as a bicycle and pedestrian trail, is inactive, or is not leased.

Light Density Lines[edit]

29 percent (1,433 miles) of the state’s railroad system is operated by 25 independent or short-line operators. Norfolk Southern has approximately 851 miles of light density lines and CSX has another 242 miles. Georgia’s light density lines carry less than 5 million gross tons of freight per year and function as local shortline service operators, primarily in rural agricultural areas.

Mainlines[edit]

2,463 miles of the rail system are classified as “mainline track”. Some Georgia mainlines transport more than 80 million gross tons per year, ranking them among the most heavily used in the country.

Air transportation[edit]

HJAIA's 398 foot-tall control tower.

Aviation Programs[edit]

Aviation Programs is tasked to assure a safe, adequate, and well-maintained system of public-use airports, to promote and encourage the use of aviation facilities, to guide airport development, to promote viable scheduled air service throughout the state, and to foster safer operating conditions at these facilities.

Other Responsibilities Aviation Programs is responsible for inspecting and licensing all open-to-the-public general aviation airports in the state. State law requires public-use airports to have a state airport license. Licensing occurs on a biennial basis.

Aviation Programs also publishes and distributes to the airports and aviation community the Georgia Airport Directory and the Georgia Aeronautical Chart in alternating years.

State Block Grant Program[edit]

Georgia was designated by the FAA as the 10th participant in the State Block Grant Program beginning October 1, 2008. This mandates the Department to accept and administer millions of dollars in federal funding for improvements at federally eligible general aviation airports. Aviation Programs assumes additional responsibility for project oversight, airport planning, compliance, and environmental review at these airports.

Airport Development[edit]

The Airport Development program is responsible for developing, managing, and administering programs to satisfy these goals. The Georgia Airport Aid Program is designed to provide financial assistance to communities in accomplishing capital improvement, airfield maintenance, and approach aid projects. Capital improvement projects include new, extension or widening of a runway, taxiway, or aircraft parking apron. Maintenance projects include resurfacing or reconstruction of runways, taxiways, and aprons, repair of lighting systems and approach aids, and sealing of joints and cracks on airfield pavements. Approach aid projects include the purchase and installation of glide slopes, localizers, visual guidance, and automated weather reporting equipment.

Aviation Planning[edit]

The Aviation Planning program participates in individual airport planning projects, and, on a statewide basis, maintain the Georgia Aviation System Plan, which reviews the state system of airports and make recommendations on their development that would benefit statewide development goals. We routinely maintain a statewide Airfield Pavement Management Study which evaluates the pavement at 103 airports in the state. Recommendations include a 5-year maintenance work program for each airport and documentation of the needs for state funds to maintain the airport infrastructure.

Department management[edit]

Georgia DOT is governed by a 13-member State Transportation Board that is elected by the Georgia General Assembly for a five-year[7] term and is headed by a commissioner chosen from among the board members.[8] The board's powers include designating which public roads are encompassed within the state highway system; approving long-range transportation plans; overseeing the administration of construction contracts; and authorizing lease agreements. Offices within the board, other than Commissioner, are Deputy Commissioner; Chief Engineer and Treasurer.[9]

The Georgia Department of Transportation has several different divisions. They include:

  • Division of Administration
  • Chief Engineer
  • Communications Division
  • Division of Construction
  • Division of Equal Employment Opportunity
  • Division of Field Districts
  • Division of Information Technology
  • Division Legal Services
  • Division of Operations
  • Division of Planning, Data & Intermodal Development
  • Division of Preconstruction
  • Special Staff
  • Treasurer

Possible reorganization[edit]

In February 2009, Governor Sonny Perdue, Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle, and Speaker of the House Glenn Richardson announced a plan that would remove almost all authority from GDOT and the legislature and put it under themselves in a new State Transportation Authority. This would merge the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority (GRTA) and State Road and Tollway Authority (SRTA) together, leaving GDOT only to maintain roads. (Eliminating GDOT entirely would require an amendment to the state constitution.) On February 26, the GDOT board retaliated against chairwoman Gena Evans (who had been picked by Perdue) by firing her.

The state previously had a system under the governor rather than the legislature, in which he could (and often did) withhold highway funds from electoral districts represented by his political opponents. This system of political corruption and payback was reformed in 1963.[10]

References[edit]

External links[edit]