AJC Watchdog: First Alert

Keeping watch on those who hold the public trust and money

Big road-builder opened wallet to back transportation bill

New campaign reports show Georgia's top road contractor boosted the Georgia Chamber's push for a $1 billion transportation bill during the 2015 legislative session.

C.W. Matthews this week reported contributing $50,000 in February to the Georgia Transportation Alliance, the Chamber's arm promoting spending increases on road, bridge and rail projects to ease traffic congestion.

The Marietta company had contributed at least $200,000 to the Alliance in recent years, and it had good reasons to support the Chamber's effort.

A review of state records by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution found that the company was  paid about $1.1 billion for work by the Department of Transportation from fiscal 2010 through fiscal 2014, making it by far Georgia's busiest state-funded road contractor.

The new law raises the state's motor fuel tax and eliminates a tax credit for electric vehicles, making owners of those cars pay a new annual fee. It also raises hotel/motel taxes $5. The measure is supposed to raise about $1 billion a year for transportation projects.

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About the Author

James Salzer has covered state government and politics in Georgia since 1990.