The hub it was meant to be

Interstate proposals would be an economic driver for Augusta

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An area resident was looking at proposals for two new interstate highways connecting to Augusta.

“That would change my life,” he said, noting how it would make the drive to Macon faster and easier.

It’s funny what a big difference roads and highways make.

It’s odd how poorly served Augusta is that way.

It is Georgia’s second-largest city, and as the main hive of human activity for miles on the banks of the Savannah and the border of South Carolina, you would think all roads would lead here – particularly as Savannah plans to deepen its port in anticipation of greater ship traffic from a new and improved Panama Canal.

In addition, the routes between military bases in Augusta, Warner Robins, Columbus and Savannah are unnecessarily convoluted. And the interstate system was inspired by national security reasons to begin with.

But try driving to Savannah. Or Macon. Or Columbus. Or Alabama and beyond. Single-lane roads. Poorly marked turns. Dangerous, unfamiliar twists and turns. Hours out of your way. In the early decades of the 21st century, there’s still no good way to get from here to there.

It’s an outrage, really.

It’s holding us back economically, no doubt – and will only stunt our growth even more when cargo traffic increases on the coast. Think of the missed opportunities.

Proposed Interstates 14 (Augusta to Natchez, Miss.) and 3 (Savannah to Knoxville, Tenn.) would make Augusta the hub it was destined to be.

Unfortunately, at this point they are but dreams reduced to paper – reports completed at the request of Congress – with no serious congressional action pending. But this area shouldn’t rest until these projects break ground.

In shrugging off the failure of his stimulus bill to stimulate much of anything outside the government bureaucracy, President Obama joked that “shovel-ready projects” weren’t as shovel-ready as he’d thought. What a shame these projects weren’t. They would breathe new life into the entire Southeast United States and provide all kinds of jobs.

We’ve got an election this year, and the 12th congressional seat is up for grabs – as four Republicans are already vying to replace Democrat incumbent John Barrow in the newly drawn and more Republican-friendly district. No candidate should be given consideration who doesn’t make these interstate projects a top priority – and having them link directly to Augusta.

It would be life-changing for plenty of folks.

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specsta
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specsta 02/20/12 - 01:48 am
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"It’s odd how poorly served

"It’s odd how poorly served Augusta is that way."

Why is this so odd? Lack of leadership and constant division leads to mediocrity - a situation that Augusta is so very comfortable with...

Riverman1
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Riverman1 02/20/12 - 06:37 am
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An accurate piece would have

An accurate piece would have mentioned Paul Broun's active involvement to keep I-3 from becoming a reality. Charlie Norwood fought to get I-3 on the future's list and Broun fought just as hard to take it off to appease the North Georgia interests.

As the editorial says, Augusta is poorly served with the interstate system of today. I-20 is mainly an alternate interstate route with limited traffic from NC to Atlanta.

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 02/20/12 - 07:53 am
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What is this "one-lane roads"

What is this "one-lane roads" complaint? Try driving to Savannah — I take U.S. Hwy 25 south to I-16. It is almost all four-lane.

Try driving to Macon — I take U.S. 1 to Wrens, then take Ga. 88 past Sandersville. It is called the "Fall Line Freeway" and it is great. Then on in to Millegeville and down to Macon. Good roads, all the way.

Some people just like to complain, and this editorial writer is one of them. I prefer to see the glass as half full.

TParty
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TParty 02/20/12 - 07:59 am
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They always say there is

They always say there is money for infrastructure- which is badly needed- however where are the projects? I wonder if Georgia is ignored because this area probably won't vote for Obama anyways?

For all those who just hate the federal government and believe they can do no right, and should just get out of the way: I wonder why businesses are not trying to get these roads built. After all, "it’s holding us back economically, no doubt – and will only stunt our growth even more when cargo traffic increases on the coast. Think of the missed opportunities."

Is the editorial asking for the government to get in there and build roads, or asking private businesses to do so?

Riverman1
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Riverman1 02/20/12 - 08:06 am
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TP, interstate highways run

TP, interstate highways run through all types of communities, Obamaland and the working neighborhoods. States pay into federal interstate highways. In addition, you could argue every penny the feds get come from the states. But you knew that already.

With these proposed highways, we are talking so far in the future, trips to Mars will be commonplace for weekend get-aways.

Techfan
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Techfan 02/20/12 - 08:07 am
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Cut federal spending, but not

Cut federal spending, but not our spending?

Riverman1
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Riverman1 02/20/12 - 08:10 am
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I opt out of all federal

I opt out of all federal systems if it were possible.

But new interstates in the south do make sense. Almost half the industrial growth in the nation over the next 20 years is predicted to be in the Piedmont Corridor.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 02/20/12 - 08:18 am
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Here is the thing. Abraham

Here is the thing. Abraham Lincoln made it plain to us that we have to play by the federal rules. So we have to do all these silly putty like things and fight for federal dollars like we are hungry dogs. I'd have never built the $200 MILLION I-20-520 interchange either. That thing is so underused I'm often the only vehicle on the flyover. We could have done lots with $200 mil. Oh, well, we have to play by the federal rules or they will try to resupply Fort Sumter again.

TParty
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TParty 02/20/12 - 08:23 am
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RM1: The money Georgia pays

RM1: The money Georgia pays into the federal pot, is less than it receives. If Augusta wants a nice road to Savannah, the state should pay for it. To do that- we raise taxes, or cut spending. And from the furloughs the teachers are taking- not sure how much more Augusta can chip in.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 02/20/12 - 08:27 am
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TP, that's well known about

TP, that's well known about the federal money and Georgia. But again, if you want to opt out of the federal system and keep all our tax money here, I'm for it. I have a feeling even with those fewer dollars, we would be much better off.

howcanweknow
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howcanweknow 02/20/12 - 08:29 am
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I thought "shoveling" was

I thought "shoveling" was what this administration did best?

Riverman1
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Riverman1 02/20/12 - 08:30 am
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But back to something real.

But back to something real. It has been proposed to send I-3 over into SC at Augusta because the north Ga people don't want it coming through there. That will never happen because SC has said they are not paying their share of the highway costs to put it through farmland. So in effect, I-3 will never happen. Thank you, Paul Broun.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 02/20/12 - 08:36 am
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It used to be said by

It used to be said by Libertarians that the only things the federal government should do are tote the mail and guard the borders. I'll modify that a bit since UPS and FedX take care of the mail so well, just guard the borders. If we need another Cumberland Rd, the states where it will be can build their portion.

TParty
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TParty 02/20/12 - 08:48 am
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Opt out of federal system? No

Opt out of federal system? No thanks, I like interstate highways, space programs, and national parks.

All I'm saying is- yes it would be nice to have better roads connecting major cities to Augusta, but if we want them- we need a way to pay for them- which means raising taxes- primarily fuel taxes.

I'm just wondering where all the money went, what all the projects are underway in Georgia because of the stimulus, the recovery act. Ga received almost $7 billion over the last three years. What has been done here?

seenitB4
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seenitB4 02/20/12 - 08:50 am
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About the I-3 going through N

About the I-3 going through N Ga....I saw & talked with some folks when they pushed the petitions to stop the thing...BUT NOW since job loss has hurt so many they have caved some on this road....the only thing needed now is to find a way to avoid some very small towns....let their smallness keep the tourists coming in (like Helen/Hiawassee)..I'm sure some great minds on our dot can figure this out....just saying..

Riverman1
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Riverman1 02/20/12 - 08:53 am
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TP, if the $7 billion had

TP, if the $7 billion had been refunded to taxpayers it would have helped the economy tremendously. Capitalism 101.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 02/20/12 - 08:56 am
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SeenIt, I don't know. That

SeenIt, I don't know. That Stop I-3 Coalition is powerful and could care less about providing jobs.

TParty
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TParty 02/20/12 - 09:02 am
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If the seven billion was put

If the seven billion was put towards infrastructure like roads, people would be working, and you can figure out what the butterfly effect of people working is. Capitalism 101; Section: Investments. Like this editorial says by not having good roads "It’s holding us back economically, no doubt – and will only stunt our growth even more when cargo traffic increases on the coast."

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 02/20/12 - 09:08 am
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TParty, you must first take

TParty, you must first take the seven billion dollars from taxpayers. That loss of money costs more jobs than the road projects create. Governments create no jobs. They all come at the expense of other people losing their jobs.

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 02/20/12 - 09:11 am
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More important than building

More important than building this Interstate from Augusta to Natchez is for the Ga. DOT to get busy and build that traffic circle in Pumpkin Center.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 02/20/12 - 09:12 am
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Capitalism 101. When you take

Capitalism 101. When you take money out of private hands and put it into goverment hands, you hurt capitalism. I say money spent by people who know best how to spend their money stimulates the economy best. When they buy refrigerators and so on, they create real jobs, not make work jobs.

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 02/20/12 - 09:13 am
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The DOT also needs to get

The DOT also needs to get busy and do the road widening/upgrade on Old Evans Rd./Old Petersburg Rd. in order to handle the increased traffic that the new Mosque/Islamic Center will bring.

allhans
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allhans 02/20/12 - 09:14 am
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LL 7:53. I wondered the same

LL 7:53. I wondered the same thing when I read the article. The 4-lane Fall Line Freeway is fairly new, in great shape with hardly any traffic, a drive you can enjoy. I am surprised at the lack of knowledge.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 02/20/12 - 09:16 am
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See there are those who

See there are those who really believe WWII and 9-11 helped our economy because massive government spending resulted. I say if we didn't have to spend the money to fix the broken window and any other government expense we could have used that money for our own personal wants which would have stimulated private business in ways government can't.

TParty
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TParty 02/20/12 - 09:16 am
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LL: Government does create

LL: Government does create jobs. Ever hear of the military industrial complex? Fort Gordon- I wonder how many jobs are created there. From there- they create jobs in the housing market because the federal government employees need a place for their families to live. Their kids need schools- so those are built, and teachers hired, maintenance and admin people hired. Clothing for school, supplies for school and food for school are needed, so there is money being put back into different areas of the community just for their kids attending school alone. You can see that right?

Riverman1
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Riverman1 02/20/12 - 09:21 am
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TP, let me try to make this

TP, let me try to make this even easier. Say the government is going to build this highway and it starts to buy up all the concrete and use the existing labor. Know what that does? It harms existing businesses that also use the concrete and labor. Prices will go up for the private folks. Guess who is paying the bills for the government road? These same private folks.

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 02/20/12 - 09:22 am
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TParty needs to understand

TParty needs to understand what Riverman wrote about above, namely, the broken window fallacy:

Broken Window Fallacy

Now, some might argue that a government building a highway is not a broken window; but the principles are the same. We see the flyover interchange at I-20/I-520, but we do not see all the private investment and jobs and products that people actually would have provided if the tax money to build the interchange had not been collected.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 02/20/12 - 09:24 am
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TP, your reasoning goes like

TP, your reasoning goes like this. The necessity of a military faced with international threats is good for the economy. In other words, bad things are good because they create jobs.

But that same tax money spent for the military would be better used by the private entities that were taxed to pay for the military or whatever calamity we faced.

TParty
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TParty 02/20/12 - 09:26 am
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Well RM: I guess you believe

Well RM: I guess you believe private businesses should build roads. That's all I was wondering. I'm not a business owner so I don't see the details of the dollar and cents on all goods, but there are probably hidden cost increases on goods arriving here because roads are not ideal, and those costs are passed on private folks. So we are paying either way.

No such thing a free lunch.

Just wondering who thinks government should build the roads, or private businesses should.

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