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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