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8-22-05 Northeast Georgia, Transportation Bill, Pork & Democrats

The Transportation Bill may be a Pork Barrel.  However, Oconee and other area Republican Counties are not getting any of the pork!



August 17, 2005


Northeast Georgia, Transportation Bill, Pork & Democrats


By Wendell Dawson, Editor, AVOC, Inc.


In earlier articles, AVOC has pointed out the minimal amount of projects for Northeast GA Counties outside Athens, a Democratic stronghold.   8-2-05 NEGA Area Counties (Other Than Democratic Athens) Losing on Federal Projects


It seems that another Democratic Congressman (David Scott) has gotten funding for the Social Circle By-Pass in Walton County.  SEE: Walton Tribune -August 7, 2005.  I am sure that Mayor Jim Burgess had a big hand in this project.  He has been around a long time and is liked and knows how to work the system.


The Gainesville Times, which leans Democratic and opposed President Bush’s re-election has weighed in against the proposal for an Interstate 3 from Augusta through the mountains.  In its August 7, 2005, Editorial, it was critical of the project and of former Congressman Max Burns and Congressman Charlie Norwood.


Not stopping with the proposed I – 3, the Gainesville Times in its August 10 editorial, criticized the whole Transportation Bill as pork and attacked the President for not vetoing it.


The Athens area needs more attention on Transportation needs.  In spite of a GA DOT  public meeting on August 15, 2005, in Oconee County, U S. 441 South is a long way from being funded.  The same is true for any projects for the upgrade of GA 316.   The widening of Experiment Road and Mars Hill Road (in the works since the mid nineties, is not in the funding channels.  SEE MACORTS TIP for funding schedules.


Area counties, outside Clarke, have been voting Republican in recent elections.  Republicans have been winning elections.  However, those counties are left out of transportation funding scheme.   I am not sure whether their leaders do not understand the process or just don’t care.


Area leadership must do more to deal with the problems of growth.  Just approving more subdivisions, running sewer and waterlines and building ball-fields just will not do the job!.


The Transportation Bill may be a Pork Barrel.  However, Oconee and other area Republican Counties are not getting any of the pork!




1-11-05 GA 316 Needs Money Not Headlines and Talk

3-22-05 Time & University Parkway (GA 316) Vision Slipping Away?

4-22-05 GA 316, University Parkway, Dreams, Vision and Reality

5-2-05 Major GA DOT Projects Underway in Area But Not Oconee County

5-11-05 Georgia 316, Economic Development, Money, Barrow & Oconee Counties

7-8-05 Transportation Issues in Georgia—GA 316

8-9-05 More Talk on GA 316

8-16-05 - GA DOT Holds Pubic Information Session on Widening US 441 in Oconee & Morgan

8-7-05 Resistance Building to I – 3 Through North GA Mountains


The Gainesville Times



August 7, 2005                          EDITORIAL


Plans for interstate again threaten our mountains' beauty

Once again, efforts are under way to run an interstate highway through the mountains of North Georgia. A majority of residents always have fought hard against such an idea, but the effort never truly goes away.

The latest proposal, known as Interstate 3, is being pushed heavily by U.S. representatives from Middle and South Georgia, and is supported by Sens. Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson. ….

Opponents back then finally were able to change the Appalachian highway route when it was only half-finished. That half-finished route is the Ga. 400 four-lane that stops near Dahlonega. The remainder of the Appalachian highway is the four-lane westerly route out of Blairsville.

Part of the reason that it's nearly impossible to stop these highways is because Georgia gets a huge chunk of money from the federal gasoline tax collected in this state. And Georgia does not have a strong alternative transportation department that looks at ways to travel and haul goods that would not require covering the earth with more asphalt.

Today, money is being spent to study the best route for I-3, which would run from Knoxville, Tenn., down through Hiawassee and on through the eastern part of the state to Savannah.

One of the supporters of this highway said it would move some of the traffic out of Atlanta into Northeast Georgia and improve air quality. Whose air quality? We still are wondering.

Max Burns, former U.S. representative from Millen (located halfway between Augusta and Savannah), is reported to have originated the bill for I-3 and also Interstate 14 which would go from Augusta to Natchez, Miss. Burns was defeated last year, and now is reported to be working for a huge law firm, Thelen, Reid and Priest, to bolster the firm's Washington lobbying capabilities in areas of transportation and construction.

Burns was a Fulbright Scholar, has a doctor of philosophy degree in business administration and has been a consultant to major transportation companies. More than likely he knows which strings to pull to accomplish his goal.

U.S. Rep. Charlie Norwood of the Ninth Congressional District, which includes Rabun, Union, White, Habersham, Banks, Jackson and part of Lumpkin counties, also is a strong supporter of I-3 and I-14. Norwood is a resident of Evans in the suburbs of Augusta…….

At this time, no one has mentioned any real benefits that Northeast Georgia would see from this interstate highway. Unless someone announces a great benefit, anyone who enjoys the Northeast Georgia mountains, if only occasionally, should attend a Stop I-3 Regional Coalition Meeting at 6 p.m. Aug. 23 at the White County High School Gym in Cleveland.

8-10-05 Highway Bill Has Much Pork- for Some


The Gainesville Times



August 10, 2005                EDITORIAL


Highway bill also adds safety issues and plenty of pork

The transportation bill that now awaits the president's signature provides $.55 billion for Georgia over six years, with $55 million earmarked for hundreds of special projects in this state.

A number of these projects are in Hall and other Northeast Georgia counties. But not all of the bill is about highways.

The total cost of the bill is $86.45 billion, and according to Taxpayers for Common Sense, $.5 billion of the money will add directly to the deficit. The remainder is from federal gasoline taxes each of us pay. The TCS group is among those asking the president to veto the bill.

President Reagan once vetoed a highway bill because it contained 152 special projects requested by all members of Congress. This bill contains 6,500 such projects costing $4 billion.

But when Reagan vetoed this particular bill, he probably had not promised pork projects to bribe the members on another bill.

Bush had set a $83.9 billion ceiling on the bill, and it went considerably higher. If he signs it into law despite its being over budget, one reason may be because he promised many of these special projects in exchange for "yes" votes on the controversial Central American Free Trade Agreement. We say this because both bills were coming through Congress at the same time, and Bush had to do something to get CAFTA passed.

In addition to all the pavement projects, the bill contains a few sidewalk projects and at least one historic building restoration, a warehouse on the Panama Canal. We wonder how such a project got into the transportation bill.

The bill also addresses some long-time safety issues. It will require the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to impose a number of new safety measures, including a performance standard aimed at decreasing rollovers, the cause of 10,553 deaths last year.

Fifteen-passenger vans, large sport utility vehicles and certain pickup trucks no longer will be exempt from certain safety regulations. These vehicles will have to undergo tests for rollovers, front and side crashes, and results will be posted on the windows of the cars for potential buyers to see.

Schools will not be allowed to use 15-passenger vans unless they meet the same safety standards as a bus.

Anyone who has been following arguments about auto safety knows about the crushed roof debate. For about 30 years, automakers have said crushed roofs do not harm passengers in a rollover, and consumer groups have responded that such a statement defies logic. Now the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has been told that it must have an approved new rule on roof strength in place by July 1, 2008.

The safety measures in the transportation bill include exploring ways to prevent cars backing over small children. This particular accident has become more of an issue with the larger and taller SUVs, but there is no actual count because driveway accidents have not been recorded. ……..

8-11-05 Another Area Democratic Congressman Gets More Highway Funds


The Walton Tribune



August 7, 2005


End of the road: SC bypass funding secured


By James Faucett


SOCIAL CIRCLE — In a few years, the hundreds of tractor-trailers that rumble through historic downtown Social Circle each day will likely be only a memory.

Congressman David Scott recently announced that he has secured $.4 million to finish the city’s truck bypass.

“I am pleased to provide transportation resources for Walton County, which will improve traffic quality and economic development,” Scott said in a statement.

City officials say the bypass, which will form a 6.5 mile half-circle around the eastern side of the city, should be completed by 2008 at a total cost of about $0 million………

“We express our tremendous appreciation to Congressman Scott for helping our city provide funding for the completion of the southern half of the Social Circle bypass,” Burgess said.

Scott’s announcement caps a campaign started in 1998 and spearheaded by Burgess, then in his first year as mayor, to re-route truck traffic around the historic downtown.

A centerpiece of Burgess’ mayoral run, the bypass had been a vision for city leaders for several years, beginning in the early 1990s under then-Mayor Frank Sherrill…

Currently, about 500 trucks pass through Social Circle each day, city officials said.

According to the Georgia Department of Transportation’s 2001 Statewide Transportation Plan, “freight movements to, from and through Georgia are forecast to increase by 63 percent by 2025.

“While the use of non-highway modes — air, water and rail — will increase, trucking will still account for 83 percent of freight shipments,” the report reads.

About six landowners donated land for right-of-way. …..

City officials believe that the development of that land and additional land along the southern portion could make Social Circle the industrial hub of the county.

In May of 2004, the Social Circle City Council voted unanimously to name the highway the “Burgess bypass.”…….

“I might have been the point man for the project, but there are a lot of people that have been pushing for this for a long time,” Burgess said back then. “This has been the desire of the community for a long time.”