The long-discussed Effingham Parkway, also known as the Georgia Portway, would have gotten over $100 million in funding if coastal Georgia voters had approved the regional T-SPLOST in 2012. That would have covered the vast majority of the total of all phases of the project.
But T-SPLOST got thumped at the polls, and Georgia’s leaders have found no viable long-term funding for transportation infrastructure. (Charlie’s column this week hit a few themes relevant to this post.)
The certainty that the elected leadership could not and would not have the vision or courage to implement any sort of plan B was one of the reasons I supported the T-SPLOST down here on the coast, but that fight is long over.
So now we’re seeing a dramatic scaling back of the plans for the Effingham Parkway, which seems like a truly necessary project given both population growth and increased traffic at the ports. From Effingham Parkway may be two-lane road in the Savannah Morning News:
The road, which would take pressure off of Ga. 21, originally was contemplated as having four lanes from Ga. 30 to Blue Jay Road and two lanes from Blue Jay Road to Ga. 119.
That configuration would cost an estimated $120 million, a number that’s unlikely to be realized anytime soon since the region voted down a transportation special-purpose local-option sales tax (T-SPLOST) in 2012.
A more reasonable project now would be $32 million for a new, two-lane road from Ga. 30 to Blue Jay Road – 6 1/3 miles. McCall Road would be improved from Blue Jay Road to Ga. 21. No new construction would be done north of Blue Jay Road.
Interim Effingham County Administrator Toss Allen notes in the piece that it’s uncertain where the $32 million will come from. Construction will not begin before 2017.
With an estimate cost of 135.4 million dollars internalized by the region, there is a short-term drag on the region’s economy. So the key question to be asked is, are enough of the benefits of the road captured locally to justify the investment? The answer to that question is a very strong yes. In 2020 alone, Gross Regional Product will be 2,140.0 million dollars higher if the road is built compared to the no build scenario. In that same year, real disposable income will be 230.0 million dollars higher if the road is built compared to the no build scenario.