Originally created 02/16/99

High-tech for Augusta 021699 - The Augusta Chronicle



This newspaper applauds Gov. Roy Barnes' Yamacraw initiative, a $13 million budget proposal to help establish Georgia as a worldwide electronics leader -- in everything from microchip design to optical networks and all the other advanced technologies essential for the growing telecommunications industry.

If Yamacraw is funded, the governor expects to create several thousand new jobs in electronic design and software engineering over the next five to seven years from existing or new industries.

Since Yamacraw aims to create the knowledge, research and educated workforce needed to attract cutting edge electronics firms to the Peach State, the backbone of the project will be the hiring of additional professors in computer science and related fields. Barnes originally slated $11.5 million for the University System, which has selected eight universities -- including four in Atlanta and two in Savannah -- to receive the extra professors.

We don't understand the omission of Augusta State University.

After all, ASU has been the first school in the state's University System to develop a computer science program. The exclusion of ASU means the entire Central Savannah River Area could miss an important opportunity for economic development.

The "big three" in our Augusta legislative delegation -- Senate Majority Leader Charles Walker (an ASU alumnus), House Speaker Pro Tem Jack Connell and Rep. Robin Williams -- shouldn't let this happen. The Board of Regents -- and especially influential local regent Tom Allgood -- shouldn't let Augusta be excluded.

Most of all, we hope Governor Barnes himself strives to include ASU at the earliest opportunity.