ATLANTA -- Pine Mountain Republican Vance Smith was front and center on the floor of the Georgia House Tuesday afternoon.\
When he was done, he was all smiles.
“Now, the real work starts,” Smith said moments after pushing a statewide transportation bill through the Georgia House.
For two years, Smith has been working to get a transportation bill that would fund road and rail projects throughout the state. The House voted 149-18 to pass Smith’s bill and send it to the Senate.
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It’s still a long way from being law and could get tangled in a power struggle going on between the General Assembly, Gov. Sonny Perdue and the state Department of Transportation board.
“That was a strong vote,” Smith said.
He wanted strong bipartisan support. And, he got it. The bill got broad support from Republicans and Democrats.
That is critical as the bill moves to the next stage, a House-Senate conference committee to work out differences between the two bills. And those differences are considerable and philosophical.
The House is pushing for a statewide attack on the state’s many transportation ills, not the least of which is major road congestion in Metro Atlanta.
“The solid vote helps when this goes to conference,” Smith said. “It sends a tremendous message.”