Letting local governments in Georgia set the rules for golf cars on city streets might provide an economic boost to those that make them, Georgia’s governor said Friday while signing the bill.
After remarks on this year’s legislative session to the Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce, Gov. Nathan Deal signed the golf cart bill into law in downtown Augusta, flanked by golf cars from Club Car and E-Z-GO, which are both based in the metro area.
“You have the unique distinction of being the leader of the production of these kinds of carts,” Deal said. “And this legislation will hopefully expand the usage, and therefore the sale of more golf carts.”
The governor said it is reasonable to believe that the law will lead to more jobs in the Augusta area.
The law sets a framework for local governments to make their own restrictions on such “personal transportation vehicles,” such as golf cars, on public roads, the governor explained.
“It will improve the safety for the operators as well as anyone else,” he said.
“From a long-term perspective, it is a good thing allowing communities to use more standardized golf cars in their areas. It will help our business,” said Marc Dufour, the CEO of Club Car. “There have been guidelines, very restrictive federal guidelines for golf cars on roads. I think this opens it up to a different interpretation, which would be good for us and good for the industry.”
Dufour said he thinks it is symbolically important for Georgia because it is the golf car manufacturing capital of the world.
“The bill-signing and commemoration is a great way to kick off this legislation,” said Eric Bondy, the vice president of consumer business at E-Z-GO. “For Georgia to be the leader in this type of legislation, we couldn’t be happier with our legislators.”
Bondy said the golf car companies weren’t consulted personally for the legislation, but the International Light Transportation Vehicle Association would have been because it is the manufacturing association representing E-Z-GO, Yamaha and Club Car, the big three in golf car production.
House Bill 877 was sponsored by Jay Roberts, Ocilla, and Barbara Sims, Brian Prince and Ben Harbin, of the Augusta delegation, and Lynn Smith, Newnan, where Yamaha produces golf carts.