Sen. Jack Hill (R-4, Appropriations Chair) recently penned some of his views on a few of the transportation issues in Georgia, with a particular focus upon the 4th Senatorial District that he serves. He also provides some potential options for handling the growing transportation problems. As usual, he is forthright with his comments and lays out the facts plainly. Sen. Hill’s District covers all of Effingham, Bulloch, Candler, and Evans counties and parts of Tattnall and Emanuel counties.
WHERE ARE GEORGIA’S TRANSPORTATION NEEDS?
Georgia is the 4th largest state, with nearly 10 million people and growing. As concentrated as part of the state is around Atlanta and as spread out as the rest of the state is, it is little wonder that there is a long list of transportation needs that grows larger as the state grows and the projects become more expensive as inflation increases the costs year after year.
In the Fourth District, two counties with pressing transportation needs are Effingham and Bulloch Counties.
Effingham, as a rapidly growing county of over 50,000, has major transportation problems with commuting between Effingham and Chatham counties on a congested Ga. 21, a four lane GRIP highway, that has a choke point at the intersection of 21 and I-95. A secondary route in and out of the county is badly needed and a route is well along in the planning stage. But it is an expensive project that may languish unless new sources of funding, local and state are found.
Bulloch County has Ga. 67 connecting to I-16 (which is the main corridor for Statesboro and Georgia Southern University traffic) going to and from Savannah. This highway is a two lane highway in the plans to four lane, but funding is the issue.
In other Fourth District Counties, a number of new roads need to be paved, but those remaining counties are all collecting and spending the additional 1 cent TSPOST funds that are in place for ten years. Those counties will come close to meeting their transportation needs.
GA DOT has a long list of expensive state projects including the Northwest Corridor ($598 million), I-75 South Express Lanes ($176 million), I-285/SR400 ($950 million) and the Jimmy DeLoach Connector ($73 million) now under construction to the port in Savannah. The GDOT’s Major Strategic Plan, which are all aimed at the traffic in and around Atlanta and out of state from there, totals in excess of $12 billion. Lists exist that approach $100 billion.
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