Does Georgia need another interstate highway?

The proposed route of Interstate 14. (Courtesy of the Youth Infrastructure Coalition)

The proposed route of Interstate 14. (Courtesy of the Youth Infrastructure Coalition)

A push for another interstate highway across Georgia gained initial support in the General Assembly this week.

The Senate Transportation Committee Wednesday passed Senate Resolution 44, which supports the creation of Interstate 14 across middle Georgia and urges the state's Congressional delegation to do likewise.

I-14 would begin in west Texas and end in Augusta. In Georgia, it could result in the Fall Line Freeway (which follows various state and federal highways) becoming an interstate. Some parts of the Georgia route are already built to interstate standards, though the rest would need to be upgraded.

At a recent hearing, supporters - including the Youth Infrastructure Coalition - said the highway would open middle Georgia to economic development, connecting Augusta to Columbus and four other southeastern states. They said it would alleviate truck congestion on existing highways and provide better access to the state's military bases.

So far, only 25 miles of the highway – all in Texas – have been completed. To finish the highway, Congress would need to designate the route an interstate – and likely provide billions of dollars to help do the work.

Members of the Senate Transportation Committee endorse the project – to a point. They approved SR 44, but only after receiving assurances that I-14 wouldn’t leapfrog other state highway projects in line for federal funding.

SR 44 now awaits a vote by the full Senate.