Deal, Barnes differ on Savannah-Knoxville interstate idea

GOP gubernatorial candidate Nathan Deal and Democrat Roy Barnes are on opposite sides of the interstate when it comes to the idea of linking Savannah and Knoxville, Tenn. The proposal has gained traction in recent months with Federal Highway Administration now conducting a feasibility study.

Conducting the study, however, doesn’t mean a new interstate will be built. The agency will look at possible routes, costs and impacts on tourism, industry and the environment, which is a major source of concern among critics.

Savannah Morning News’ Larry Peterson reports that Deal is all for the new interstate, while Barnes has reservations pending more study.

Deal, a former north Georgia congressman, is especially upbeat about portions of the route that would tie Savannah to Augusta.

“With the deepening of the port of Savannah,” he said, “we must improve our infrastructure so we can move goods from ships fast and efficiently to other parts of the state and throughout the Southeast.

“We have the opportunity to bring in significantly more cargo, and we need to be ready so ships don’t go farther up the coast to another state.”….

The state Department of Transportation, which has trouble bankrolling even the top of its wish list, doesn’t consider I-3 a high priority.

But the viability of the project goes beyond money matters, Barnes said.

“Before any construction gets started,” he said, “we need to balance the consequences … on our environment and the quality of life for Georgians near the proposed route.”

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6 comments Add your comment

Ned Puddleman

August 26th, 2010
1:21 pm

As someone whose life would have been impacted by the Northern Arc, the governor’s race has become a worst nightmare. I have no doubt that Roy Barnes will push to have the Northern Arc resurrected. Nathan Deal is a friend to anyone with a dollar in their hand. Unfortunately he “represented” the district I live in Washington DC. There is no doubt in my mind that Deal would support any road project if he could make the money off it. I voted for Handel in the primary but will be voting for Monds in the general election as I see no difference between Deal and Barnes.


August 26th, 2010
1:30 pm

screw an interstate. we need a high speed rail from atl to savannah and continuing up and down I-95. if they want to go up to knoxville from atl…whatever. i don’t care, but high speed rail is way overdue and would be more eco friendly, faster, and less stressful/more fun than driving. i went to school at ga southern and my family lives on st. simons and getting to both places is a chore from metro atlanta.


August 26th, 2010
3:01 pm

My question is DO WE HAVE THE MONEY TO PAY FOR IT? We are always READY to do something, but whose going to pay for it? This economy is in the worst shape in decades and some still want to spend, spend, spend. Somebody has to put the brakes on.

victor paxton

August 26th, 2010
4:23 pm

we had planned on voting for deal, however roy barnes will get our vote if he oppose the I-3 idea.


August 26th, 2010
10:03 pm

Why do we need a highway from Savannah to Knoxville? Do you know where Knoxville is? If goods are stockpiled there, where’s the next destination? Atlanta, Charlotte? Here’s a novel idea. Let’s take Knoxville out of the loop and build better transportation corridors from Savannah to Atlanta and Charlotte.


August 27th, 2010
10:25 am

what about trians? why have we forgotten about the speediest, most reliable way to transport goods as well as people?