Viewpoint: New Interstate should be path to governor's office - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Viewpoint: New Interstate should be path to governor's office

Sept. 14, 2006

By now I'm sure you have been contacted by our two candidates running for Governor. Maybe it's been more than once.

As you consider a donation to their campaigns, don't forget to ask for their commitment to major improvements in our region.

What do we need the most?

In our opinion, it would be extending the Interstate through Southwest Georgia.

You've likely heard the true story that the leaders in Albany successfully lobbied against I-75 coming thru Albany, which is why it was constructed from Macon, thru Cordele, Tifton, and Valdosta.

Let's now use that same enthusiasm to correct that mistake, and get Southwest Georgia on the interstate system.

Currently, I-185 ends in Columbus at Ft. Benning. As you can see on this map, we propose extending I-185, following the course of 280 / 520, thru Dawson, connecting with 19 in Albany, and South, thru Camilla and Thomasville, intersecting with I-10.

All along this new I-185 interstate corridor, you will see the kind of growth and progress that has developed along  I-75.

You need only drive on the very crowded I-75 to see how dangerous it is, and how badly this new interstate option is needed.

It would also serve as a very important hurricane evacuation route, and deliver a tremendous increase in tourism to Southwest Georgia.

We were disappointed to notice the Randall Travel Marketing Survey ordered by Albany's Chamber of Commerce for $75,000 did not highlight the need for an Interstate connection as one of the top goals we should consider working on.

Albany's downtown development, and tourism in general for Southwest Georgia, will continue to struggle until this need is addressed.

The I-185 initiative should move to the top of the agenda on all our conversations with our elected leaders.

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