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Morning Headlines: Georgia's gas prices among lowest in nation

Georgia gas prices lowest in nation

It may be cold comfort to motorists visiting the gas pump, but Georgia has the honor of having the lowest average gas price in the nation, according to AAA, at $4.49 cents a gallon as of Tuesday morning. But, that cost has risen more than 50 cents a gallon since this time last month. In the greater Athens area, gas is averaging even lower than the state average at $4.43 a gallon. The national average is now $5.01.

California continues to have the highest average gas price in the nation at $6.43 a gallon with some areas nearing eight dollars a gallon. AAA reports the cost of a barrel of oil is over $120 dollars, but demand continues to be high as drivers so far seem undeterred by high prices at the pump.

State locks down highest bond rating

Georgia has again secured AAA bond ratings from each of the three main credit rating agencies including Fitch, Moody's and S & P. The high rating means the state can issue bonds at the lowest possible interest costs to fund K-12 education, higher education, public safety and economic development projects.

The rating agencies cited the strength of Georgia's economy with a positive employment trend, full funding of the state's rainy day fund, a balanced approach to primary revenue sources and consistent funding of obligations as factors contributing to the AAA ratings.

Vertical farming company moves to Covington

A vertical farming company has chosen Covington for a new $120 million facility. Ohio-based 80 Acres Farms currently operates eight farms across the country.

The Covington location will grow crops indoors and in rows above each other using hydroponics and LED lights. During the facility’s first phase, four to five million pounds of leafy greens will be produced annually.

In a few years, the company expects to grow other crops including tomatoes and strawberries. The facility will use 95% less water than a typical farming operation and can produce crops year-round on less land.

The company says it will hire 150 workers ranging from hourly growing and harvesting jobs to salaried management positions in finance, sales and other business functions.

The facility is already under construction and will open later this year.

State seeks input on Medicaid contracts

Georgia is seeking input from individuals and organizations about what it should look for when it awards new multibillion dollar contracts for the state's Medicaid program, which contracts with private health insurers to provide health services to around 1.7 million Georgians.

The contracts are worth more than $4 billion annually. The Georgia Department of Community Health's request for information is the first step in the process of awarding the new health care contracts which are expected to take effect on July 1, 2024.

The state is looking at five priority areas: health care quality, equity, access and outcomes, value, and coverage and services. The request asks individuals, organizations and companies to share feedback about the current program's strengths, weaknesses, and suggestions for improving outcomes.