The Georgia Chamber of Commerce Congressional Luncheon was held in Macon on Tuesday. It featured Sen. Saxby Chambliss, Rep. Sanford Bishop and Rep. Austin Scott. While they were part of the program, Georgia junior Sen. Johnny Isakson was also in attendance as were other elected officials on the state and local levels.
During the panel discussion, Chambliss was asked whether there would be any federal highway money to address the transportation concerns since the transportation special purpose local option sales tax failed in all but three regions in the state. The short answer was, “No.”
wThis answer was obvious following the conversation about the deficit and sequestration -- the doomsday scenario invented by Congress to force a compromise on the budget and deficit that has yet to be reached.
The comment on the lack of federal highway money was particularly poignant. The convention center borders on Interstate 16. The now infamous I-16/Interstate 75 interchange is but a hop, skip and a jump from the convention center, and as traffic departed the event, attendees were given a real life’s lesson in the dangers of the interchange.
Traffic entering from Spring Street on ramp in the far right lane had to maneuver to the far left lane to traverse to I-75 South. Traffic in the far left lane was moving to get to the far right lane to get to I-75 North. All the while, traffic in the two middle lanes look on as two lanes turns into one. Go speed racer.
Chambliss comment could have been interpreted in a colder way, that if Middle Georgians didn’t have the sense to help themselves, the federal government was not coming to the rescue. That’s a problem for Middle Georgia. As more truck traffic from Savannah moves though the area, the I-16/I-75 bottleneck will become more dangerous and we may rue the day that T-SPLOST was defeated.
-- For the Editorial Board