Your morning jolt: For Roy Barnes, I-3 may be a case of deja vu in concrete

Eight years ago, the alliance that lined up against Gov. Roy Barnes included opponents of the Northern Arc, a proposed roadway that stretched across the top of exurban Atlanta.

People won’t vote for you because of a road. But they sure will vote against you. It was an exercise in the power of NIMBY that Barnes apparently hasn’t forgotten.


This from Larry Peterson with the Savannah Morning News:

Republican governor hopeful Nathan Deal likes at least part of a proposal for an interstate linking Savannah and Knoxville via Augusta.

But Deal’s Democratic opponent, Roy Barnes, is wary about the potential thoroughfare, under study by the Federal Highway Administration.

Barnes says he’s concerned about environmental and quality of life impacts – which are among the issues the study will address.

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.”


Campaigns are an occasion for unpleasant but necessary questions. From Blake Aued of the Athens Banner-Herald:

No federal law enforcement agency or grand jury has contacted Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle about an investigation into gubernatorial candidate Nathan Deal’s business dealings, Cagle said Wednesday.

“It’s ridiculous,” Cagle said during a visit to Athens.

The Office of Congressional Ethics found evidence earlier this year that Deal and Cagle intervened with state Revenue Commissioner Bart Graham to preserve a state car-salvaging program that earned a business owned by Deal hundreds of thousands of dollars. The investigation ended when Deal resigned from Congress in March.

A federal grand jury subpoenaed Graham on May 24, the same day he met with an FBI agent and an assistant U.S. attorney, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported after an open-records request.

Deal and Cagle have both denied any wrongdoing, but their Democratic opponents, former Gov. Roy Barnes and Carol Porter, have hammered them on ethics.

“… (I)t’s time to go over to the Senate and get rid of the corrupt lieutenant governor who’s there now,” Porter said Aug. 14 at the state Democratic Party convention in Athens.


In TV ads aired earlier this month, the Republican Governors Association ridiculed Roy Barnes, the Democratic nominee for governor, for apologies he’s issued for moving too fast during his first term.

But at least one employee of Gov. Sonny Perdue thinks Barnes’ strategy has merit. From

Tommy Hills, the state’s chief financial officer and a top Perdue aide, thinks the overtures might be a smart move on Barnes’ part. “If he’s able to portray himself as a humble person, I would think it has more benefit than detriment to him, because I don’t think most voters who have some opinion of Governor Barnes would think he’s a very reticent or shy person,” Hills says. “Contrition may play in his favor.”

Barnes’ longtime friend [Buddy] Darden puts it this way: “Some people think it’s groveling, but you know, the world loves a reformed sinner. But he’s done that now, and as we go into the general election, you’ll see a little bit of a different campaign.”

For instant updates, follow me on Twitter, or connect with me on Facebook.

42 comments Add your comment


August 26th, 2010
11:00 am

Nathan Deal, the real steal.

Here's an Idea

August 26th, 2010
11:07 am

Instead of I-3 tearing through mountains and national forests on the way to Knoxville, how bout after passing north of I-85 it curves westward toward I-75 — the new Northern Arc, but further out. The business interests in Dalton and Gainesville would love it. I’m sure Barnes won’t touch anything that resembles the Northern Arc during the campaign, and it’s hard to blame him. But it would address two huge Georgia transportation issues with one highway.

Of course, I-18 from Augusta to Columbus to Auburn (then possibly joined with I-85 to Montgomery, where it’d then go on to Meridian) should be a much higher priority.

Here's an Idea

August 26th, 2010
11:09 am

Instead of I-3 tearing through mountains and national forests on the way to Knoxville, how bout after passing north of I-85 it curves westward toward I-75 — the new Northern Arc, but further out. The business interests in Dalton and Gainesville would love it. I’m sure Barnes won’t touch anything that resembles the Northern Arc during the campaign, and it’s hard to blame him. But it would address two huge Georgia transportation issues with one highway.

Of course, I-18 from Augusta to Columbus to Auburn (then possibly joined with I-85 to Montgomery, where it’d then go it alone to Meridian) should be a much higher priority.


August 26th, 2010
11:13 am

Are either candidates ever going to debate their philosophies for running the state? All TV ads are negative personal attacks from Both.


August 26th, 2010
11:14 am

For Barnes it’s all about posturing. Whatever he promises, we know who King Roy is and how he would govern. We know his promises, his apologiesan and his promises are empty. King Roy must not be governor.
Not again.

Ira in East Lake

August 26th, 2010
11:16 am

Barnes has not been negative – RM please cite an example.

Reality Check

August 26th, 2010
11:18 am

I will have to vote for the candidate who would NOT support this route, though I do not care for either one. Deal is from Gainesville? Gainesville is HOW close to the mountains? Guess ole Nathan never appreciated the scenery just outside his town’s window, huh? Big money and power players need to be defeated by their own greed and lack of appreciation for the environment that in it’s own way supports every one of us (o2, water, soil). Time to leave the home state I used to love and head to NC where residents and lawmakers take care of their natural resources and beauty.


August 26th, 2010
11:21 am

Back in Barne’s first stint as Governor, I worked with a fairly large business that had an interest in where the Northern Arc, if built, would be located. We hired a well-known powerful law firm with connections with Barnes to lobby to get the placement where it would benefit the company. The Attorney came back with an answer that we would be very pleased with an announcement that would be made on a certain date, 10-11 months from that time. In the meantime, GADOT went throught the motions of analyzing multiple routes and environmental impact studes. Guess what? On the exact date that the Attorney told us an announcement would be made 10-11 months earlier, the Governor made a “surprise” announcement that the Arc would not be built. The decsion had been made by Barnes long before it was announced. He is dirty, folks. I’m no Deal fan, but we do not need Barnes back in office.

Mr. KnowitAll

August 26th, 2010
11:24 am

Ira, in East Lake—for goodness sakes….Barn’s very 1st ad never mentions his name (other than he sponsored it) and doesn’t mention democRat (who would blame him?) and the focus is Deal’s ethics.

…that is TOTALLY a negative ad and ignores the issues of Georgia!

Good Lord, woman! Open your blinders and see the light!


August 26th, 2010
11:26 am

Who is going to pay for it? Considering how quickly the economy tanked, wouldn’t it have been atrocious for taxpayers to now be spending $2.4 billion on a 59 mile stretch of developmental highway?

Nathan Deal has no problem with spending taxpayer money to develop property in his old congressional district. I am sure that whatever plans are discussed, his personal interests will be of primary concern. Let Nathan Deal explain how the underused I-16 that connects Savannah to the rest of the Southeast is insufficient.


August 26th, 2010
11:28 am

How is Barnes the one against a massively wasteful federal spending project here?

*head explodes*


August 26th, 2010
11:32 am

Instead of worrying about getting to other places from Atlanta, let’s focus on solving the traffic problems that we presently have. Like getting to the airport or using 285 at times other than 3 am, etc.

WE have lost our way

August 26th, 2010
11:32 am

Ride on I-16 and you will be the only car going to Savannah. The best idea is putting an interstate going from Savannah to Columbus to Montgomery. Connect I-16,I-75and I-85 across the state. We already have two interstates running north and south.I know we have I-20,however we need one in south Georgia to increase business in this part of our state. It is dead below Macon.Plus it is a long ride from Savannah to Montgomery or Columbus on a two lane highway.


August 26th, 2010
11:36 am

I think I’d rather see an extension of I-16 from Macon to I-85 near LaGrange, linking the KIA plant with the ports of Savannah.


August 26th, 2010
11:43 am

Talk about a ROAD to NOWHERE; it’s just a waste of money.


August 26th, 2010
12:00 pm

Extending I-16 to I-85 near LaGrange then on up to I-20 near Anniston, Alabama would open the Savannah port to four domestic auto plants (Not sure how much shipping domestic plants are doing, but it can’t hurt.) You have Kia near LaGrange, Hyundai down I-85 in Montgomery, Honda near Anniston and Mercedes down I-20 near Tuscaloosa.

Other than that, the Fall Line Freeway between Columbus-Macon-Augusta is the best option for the port. It would also be a needed highway for Middle Georgia.


August 26th, 2010
12:05 pm


August 26th, 2010
12:12 pm

I can see the economic benefit of such a proposal, but the environmental impact seems to more than offset that.

Please stop developing appalachia.


August 26th, 2010
12:19 pm

The I 3 road would link a lot of nothing to nothing – what a waste of money. Sounds like the same old Republicans over spending as usual.

Pappa Grizzly

August 26th, 2010
12:29 pm

Let’s take more tax dollars from metro Atlanta to build roads from Augusta to Savannah and then bash Atlanta as the home to welfare queens and sodomites.

Its great to be in the GOP.


August 26th, 2010
12:42 pm

Those of you dismissing the project’s economic benefit should probably take a look at the economic impact the Savannah Port has on our state.

Its the 4th largest port in the US.

But, again, I always think you need to look environment first, economy second and so, I am not crazy about this idea.


August 26th, 2010
12:57 pm

Mr. Galloway,

If given the chance to ask either of the candidates another question, please ask “Would you, as Governor, consider granting clemency to convict Troy Davis?”

Its a national story and their position would be influential to a lot of voters.

Thanks in advance


August 26th, 2010
12:59 pm

My county naturally tends toward Deal as he represented us at one time. When the word gets out that he supports I-3, that support will erode tremendously. Fine with me; I think he is not the best man for the job.


August 26th, 2010
1:11 pm

Why not tap into I-75 near Chattanooga with I-16. This would benefit the new VW plant and also connect Knoxville….all interstate traffic need not go through ATLANTA. The NW area of Ga must go near Atlanta to get clear of Lake Lanier. This would send more traffic toward Greenville, the ports of Savannah and Charleston. Why not even connecting into I-75 even further south such as Calhoun or Cartersville….We do not ruin our mountains and our citizens could connect with Athens and Augusta for institutes of higher education and ease some of the Atlanta traffic problems. Dawsonville and Brasleton are on the future radar because of exploding growth. All these areas would greatly benefit from an east/west corridor this far north. Governor’s to be ….why not?


August 26th, 2010
1:12 pm

Imno, As former governor Barnes would know, only the State Board of Pardons and Paroles can grant clemency — and they have already denied it to Davis. The governor has no authority in the matter whatsoever.

Ned Puddleman

August 26th, 2010
1:22 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
1:22 pm

I-3 is just a dumb idea. I-26 to I-40 gets you from Savannah to Knoxville nearly as fast. This smells like a taxpayer funded boondoggle.


August 26th, 2010
1:23 pm

quick correction…I-95 to I-26, not I-26 to I-40


August 26th, 2010
1:31 pm

Grumpy’s right. I-3 is just plain dumb. There’s already perfectly good interstate highways that are somewhat direct already in place- all with plenty of capacity. Besides, shouldn’t I-3 be on the other side of the country next to I-5? Odd-numbered interstates (north-south routes) start with the lowest numbers on the west coast (I-5) leading to the largest numbers on the east coast (I-99). Can’t anyone do anything right anymore?

John Galt

August 26th, 2010
1:35 pm

Of course the Lt. Govna hasn’t been contacted by Federal investigators or Grand Juries. The allegations against Rep. Deal were politically motivated all along, and now that Black Bart the alleged “Revenue Commissioner” appointed by George “Sonny” Perdue is soon to be unemployed, the points are moot anyway.


August 26th, 2010
2:32 pm

For 18 years Nathan Deal represented the Lake Lanier area and took absolutely no leadership in resolving the Tri-State water war that has been fought for decades. He cannot be trusted with any responsibility for building new roads, bridges, drainage ditches, sidewalks or bike paths. He is a political hack with no one’s interest at heart except his own.


August 26th, 2010
2:38 pm

Can’t tell from the map but does the road go near any Reynold’s property. If it does see who they support in the rece and you will know what Barnes or Deal will do.

Innocent Bystander

August 26th, 2010
3:03 pm

lmno, “Those of you dismissing the project’s economic benefit”. Of what economic benefit will such a project be if the economy continues to spiral downward as many believe it will. Recouping the monies spent on such a project would be a very lengthy process at best. We have school teachers crying about lay-offs and furloughs and expecting raises from the King Rat, should he be elected. Where, I ask, is the money coming from? This is being discussed at a time when frugality and the stretching of available resources should be the order of the day.


August 26th, 2010
3:59 pm

I-3 is nothing more than a way for Florida bluehairs to get to their mountain homes faster. God forbid they should have to drive on a road with a curve in it. STOP I-3!!!


August 26th, 2010
6:57 pm

Lt Governor Casey Cagle WAS asked to testify…he refused to cooperate sighting “states rights”. He was about to be subpoenaed when the investigation was called off due to Deal’s resignation. There’s a reason Cagle dropped out of the running for Governor…and my guess is it has nothing to do with his back


August 26th, 2010
8:45 pm

What’s the point? They’re already building out US 25 from Augusta to Savannah. Some routes don’t need freeways, but do need high-quality four-lane divided roads on the order of GA 400 north of Cumming (which itself maybe ought to be a freeway by now), GA 316 (ditto), or (my favorite example) US 301 on the Eastern Shore of Chesapeake Bay in Maryland, which is a joy to drive. Just add the occasional interchange or freeway bypass where it’s needed and make sure it ties in seamlessly with the Interstate system (Translation: “Build freeway-to-freeway-style interchanges that don’t make people stop to get on or off”), and you’re good to go.

But build something. John Maynard Keynes was right–the time for a government to be frugal is during the *good* times, not the bad ones.


August 26th, 2010
9:36 pm

If I-3 were to exist it would make much more sense for it to cut west around Gainesville and hit I-75 instead of going through the mountains to Knoxville. Could cut a little bit of traffic around Atlanta. Of course seeing how little used I-16 is, I doubt it would be any use to have another rural interstate into Savannah. Columbus to Macon seems more important


August 26th, 2010
9:55 pm

Not another road please! How about a rail line instead?


August 27th, 2010
11:44 am

More billions for highways when we are in a horrific recession? Where are these billions coming from, pray tell? They are not even mowing the grass or picking up trash along existing highways and medians. If we have billions to spend (which we don’t) put them into high speed rail, like the rest of the rapidly advancing countries in Europe and Asia.. Asphalt is not the solution to anyone’s problems. Laying new roads is crazily destructive, yields only temporary low-paid construction jobs, and lines the pockets of rich road builder contractors and their politician cronies. Can Georgia possibly be any more retrograde in it’s politics and plannning? I am constantly in awe of the incredible greed, stupidity and lack of vision of our political leaders. Georgia leads in the race to the bottom of every measure of quality of life and rational, productive planning for the future.


August 27th, 2010
5:12 pm

The candidate that swears he is opposed to this boondoggle of a road gets the votes of my family and me. It will ruin our beautiful mountains and is not necessary even if the economy were booming, How can it possibly be justified in this time of economic depression? The money would be much more effectively spent in more populated areas to reduce congestion and pay for needed rail lines.

No Teabagging

August 28th, 2010
1:26 pm

Deal’s cronies must own land along the proposed route, And Barnes’ cronies don’t. That’s the way we build roads in GA: only along a path where your deep pocket clients and campaign contributors own land.


August 29th, 2010
7:23 am

As a conservative Republican disgusted with Deal, I think I’ll vote for Monds.