Via BusinessInSavannah.com, Walter Jones of the Morris News Service points out how the now-approved deepening of the Savannah Harbor is forcing the Georgia DOT to prioritize road improvements needed because of the expected increase in traffic out of the port.
Officials in Macon and West Georgia are pushing for road improvements along the corridor connecting Macon and LaGrange.
“We’re interested in it for commerce, more industry. We’ve got companies in the western party of Georgia that are dependent on that port. … I would much rather have them spend their money on a Georgia port than Mobile,” said Lanier Boatwright, executive director of the Three Rivers Regional Commission.
Macon sees the West Georgia corridor as a way for the Middle Georgia city to become a trade intersection, according to Patrick Topping, senior vice president of the Macon Economic Development Commission.
LaGrange, of course, is the home of Kia Motors, which would be a big beneficiary of the road widening. But, there is another competitor for limited funds. That would be the Caterpillar plant in Athens, which plans to use the port to export much of what it manufactures. To do that, DOT officials are planning improvements to US 441 between the Classic City and I-16.
As of now, it appears the 441 corridor will get any available funding, leaving the Macon-Lagrange improvements possibly waiting another fifteen years.
If only they had passed the TSPLOST.