Perdue had input in hometown road project

ATLANTA - Gov. Sonny Perdue became involved in plans to build a new four-lane highway that will run past middle Georgia property he owns, according to a report on Monday by WAGA-TV.

A spokesman for the Georgia Department of Transportation said Perdue requested briefings and meetings on the road project near his home in Bonaire.

"He was very interested in it, supported it, requested briefings on it, requested the opportunity to look at the plans and to have input on that," department spokesman David Spear said.

Perdue spokesman Bert Brantley said that the road project was a top priority for Houston County, which pledged $20 million of local money to widen the road. Brantley said the governor did nothing to influence the timing of the project or the road's alignment.

The department was considering five different options on where to put the east-west corridor but settled on the northern route Perdue wanted. That route will bring the road past two pieces of land Perdue owns. But most of the routes being considered would have touched Perdue's property in the area.

Jeffrey Dorfman, a land use professor at the University of Georgia, said four-lane roads can mean a doubling of tripling of property value for adjacent land.

The route selected by state transportation officials will mean some landowners could lose their homes.

"Sonny, you better think about this., what you're doing to your neighbors," Myrtle Russell said.

The road is slated to be constructed in 2013.