New Transportation Projects in the Works for Central Georgia?

And just when you thought we couldn’t talk about TSPLOST anymore:

The Connect Central Georgia study, which is eyeing a corridor from Augusta to Macon and Columbus, will next determine whether major road projects like an expanded Macon-LaGrange highway or a new connector between Interstate 75 and Interstate 16 should be endorsed.

The Connect Central Georgia study has highlighted 17 improved connections as possibilities. Costs and benefits will be analyzed in the next three months before particular projects are recommended, Lynch said.

“We want to get as much benefit for the costs,” Lynch said.

Lynch said the report will identify potential funding sources. Some of the projects already were planned for money from regional transportation sales taxes, known as T-SPLOSTs; two of the four regions in the study area passed a T-SPLOST this year.

Having spent the last three years traveling 150 miles a day in Central Georgia, transportation is a subject near and dear to my heart. Anyone who has ever traveled I-16 and attempted to get on 75-South knows what kind of nightmare we have down here. To be frank, people call the current interchange a “Death Trap.”

But with projects like this come big problem, as the Telegraph’s Mike Stucka notes, one of the proposed connectors will run into a number of problems involving wetlands, historical sites, and conservation lands. Those things can be dealt with–given time–and only serve to slow down progress. There is one problem, however, that is a tad bit more difficult: funding.

Macon didn’t opt-in on the TSPLOST, but two regions in Central Georgia did. Those two regions may be able to get more projects done with TSPLOST funds than previously. Regardless, it seems as if money will be found to push through projects even if you didn’t pass the TSPLOST.