Congressmen Kingston and Norwood make new highway a priority
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Congressman Jack Kingston (R/GA-01) and Congressman Charlie Norwood (R/GA-09) introduced legislation today to kick-start the process for a new interstate highway between Savannah, Augusta, and Knoxville, Tennessee. Today is the first official day of the 109th Congress and the new legislative year.
"Our antiquated highway system is in great need of updating and expansion. Not only would a new highway between Savannah and Knoxville increase interconnectivity, but it will help with traffic related air pollution and bring economic development to areas that are currently cut off from our interstates." Congressman Kingston said. "Mr. Norwood and I are going to be following this legislation very closely to make sure it gets the attention it deserves."
Kingston and Norwood's legislation will name the highway "I-3" - after the 3rd Infantry Division at Fort Stewart. It requires the Secretary of Transportation to "study and report to the appropriate committees of Congress, before December 31, 2005, regarding the steps and estimated funding necessary to designate and construct a new inter-state highway."
"There's little doubt that the lack of major interstates running through East Georgia has hurt our area economically and otherwise. With the start of another congressional session, the fight to change that and begin the legislative process to make I-3 a reality begins again," said Norwood. "I'm proud to join Jack Kingston in re-introducing this legislation and look forward to fighting on Capitol Hill to get it passed."
Similar legislation was introduced last year by former Congressman Max Burns, but did not make it to the House Floor for a vote.
The I-3 plan will provide a direct link between the Port of Savannah and the Midwest. Georgia's second largest city, Augusta, will have finally have access to a much needed North-South interstate. The new highway will also effectively connect Fort Gordon in Augusta and Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah - a potential boost in warding off future base closures. In addition, the positive economic impact of the new highway will benefit the entire Savannah River Valley. The legislation introduced today will make the first steps in bringing this plan to fruition.