A key local government group expressed surprising acceptance of the $1 billion a year transportation funding plan, while opponents claimed the legislation will raise taxes, despite House leaders’ assurances to the contrary.

Debbie Dooley, state coordinator of the Georgia Tea Party Patriots, told supporters the plan would increase gas prices by at least 7.7 cents per gallon. Her Twitter alert came after Transportation Committee Chairman Rep. Jay Roberts, R-Ocilla, and House Speaker David Ralston, R-Blue Ridge, outlined the plan at a press conference Wednesday afternoon.  Efforts by InsiderAdvantage Georgia to reach Dooley were unsuccessful.

The legislation, filed Thursday afternoon, would convert the 4-percent gasoline sales tax into the motor-fuel excise tax, now 7.5 cents per gallon. That, along with other portions of the bill, would raise an additional $1 billion a year for transportation.

The excise tax will be set at 29.2 cents per gallon, based on a weighted average of gasoline prices over the previous four years, calculated at $3.39 per gallon. The excise tax will be indexed to corporate average fuel economy standards as well as inflation and adjusted annually to match fuel efficiency gains. Roberts is author of the bill, along with Jon Burns, R-Newington; David Stover, R-Newnan; Mark Hamilton, R-Cumming; and Appropriations Committee Chairman Terry England, R-Auburn, and others. 

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