At a Tuesday press conference at the Capitol, Governor Nathan Deal revealed short and long term plans to spend up to $10 billion dollars on Georgia’s roads, bridges, and transportation infrastructure. Joining the governor in the announcement were Lt. Governor Casey Cagle, Speaker David Ralston, House and Senate Transportation Chairmen Christian Coomer and Tommie Williams, and GDOT Commissioner Russell McMurry.
The ten year plan includes congestion relief for metro Atlanta, including rebuilding the interchanges on the east and west side of the perimeter where it intersects I-285 and HOT lanes for the top end perimeter. There are also plans for improving freight corridors serving the Port of Savannah, including rebuilding the I-95 / I-16 interchange, and construction of truck only lanes from Macon to Henry County on I-75. Details of the plan can be found on a new DOT website at GARoads.org.
As lawmakers debated the proposed tax increases needed to pay for the work, many Georgians wondered if the money raised would be spent where they lived, or if all the money would be sent to Atlanta, never to be seen again. This lack of trust was a continuation of concerns seen during the debate over the 2012 TSPLOSTS. Therefore, in addition to the scope of the transportation projects announced on Tuesday, the new website is a very important tool. On it, you can search for projects anywhere in the Peach State, whether by county, State Senate district, State House district, and more. Voters will be able to see the projects that will affect them, and the progress being made towards completion.
In a press scrum following the announcement, the governor was asked about possible primary challenges to Republican lawmakers who supported House Bill 170:
If people will have given an objective look at what is being accomplished by this, I don’t think that should be an issue for them. In fact, it should be something they should be able to brag about, to be able to show that they are actually doing things to improve the infrastructure and transportation in their respective districts, and I think that’s exactly what it will show. that’s why this interactive map is so important.