Opinion: Ga. well-positioned for President’s infrastructure plan


This week is National Infrastructure Week. There will be events across the nation to bring awareness to the critical state of infrastructure conditions and the need for investment. The Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) is focused on improving both the state of good repair of our infrastructure and investing in mobility enhancements to our transportation network in order to facilitate growth and improve the quality of life for all Georgians.

For the fifth consecutive year, Georgia has once again been named the number one state for business. As a state, we recognize that one of the vital components for that success is our ability to build and maintain a reliable transportation network.

With great support from Gov. Nathan Deal and the Georgia legislature, we are now making historic levels of investment in our state’s infrastructure, resulting not only in improvements today, but also allowing us to plan for the future. GDOT is repaving roadways and replacing bridges across the state. With an eye on mobility enhancement through connectivity and transportation choice, this summer we will open one of the most transformative projects in the state’s history, the Northwest Corridor Express Lanes on Interstates 75 and 575 in Cobb and Cherokee counties. This project is an outstanding example of a public-private partnership (P3) that accelerated construction by bringing private-sector finance and innovation. The Northwest Corridor Express Lanes is a glimpse into Georgia’s transportation future, which includes a connected system of express lanes in metro Atlanta along Interstates 285, 75, 85 and State Route 400. This network will provide a tremendous benefit for current transit services while also considering future transit needs.

As Georgia is focused on the state’s infrastructure, the Trump administration is focused on the nation’s infrastructure. The president’s proposal, “Building a Stronger America,” emphasizes the need for critical infrastructure improvements that will help continue to propel our great nation forward. While it appears that the President’s proposal will not advance this year, I am encouraged by the many Congressional hearings that have already been held thus far. I’ve yet to hear any member of Congress say they disagree with infrastructure investments.

Among other key points, the president’s plan focuses on streamlining the regulatory and permitting process; the president has made it a priority to shorten the often-lengthy timetable to gain approvals for new highways, bridges and other projects. The plan also empowers state, local and private partnerships to drive infrastructure investments. These elements and others are integral to helping Georgia continue to develop and improve our transportation network at its current pace. At GDOT, we employ public-private partnerships (P3) — and have done so for a number of years — that allow the state to better allocate the resources we have for transportation by leveraging private-sector and innovative capital. These partnerships often result in accelerated project completion and reduced costs for taxpayers.

The president’s plan calls for at least $1.5 trillion in additional investments to rebuild infrastructure, with the federal government providing $200 billion. Of those funds, $100 billion will create an Incentives Program to leverage state, local and private investments. Under this proposal, Georgia is well-positioned for success due to our major mobility investment projects, which include rebuilding key interchanges that are bottlenecks, such as Interstates 16/95 and Interstates 20/285; the widening of Interstate 85 from Hamilton Mill to U.S. Highway 129; Interstate 16 in Chatham County; commercial vehicle-only lanes on Interstate 75 outside of Macon; and multiple express lanes projects.

Leaders at state and national levels recognize that critical improvements must be made to the nation’s infrastructure. With a commitment from the Trump administration and federal lawmakers to facilitate improvements that will continue to transform our transportation network, the administration’s “Building a Stronger America” initiative would provide an opportunity that can help Georgia and the nation continue to move forward in addressing our critical infrastructure needs.

Russell McMurry is commissioner of the Georgia Department of Transportation.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Opinion

Opinion: The Trump tax scam, Phase II

When the Trump tax cut was on the verge of being enacted, I called it “the biggest tax scam in history,” and made a prediction: Deficits would soar, and when they did, Republicans would once again pretend to care about debt and demand cuts in Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. Sure enough, the deficit is soaring. And this week Mitch...
Opinion: The rich white civil war

Every few years one research group or another produces a typology of the electorate. The researchers conduct thousands of interviews and identify the different clusters American voters fall into. More in Common has just completed a large such typology. It’s one of the best I’ve seen because it understands that American politics is no longer...
Opinion: Warren highlights the danger of racial identity

She was mocked as “Fauxcahontas” long before President Donald Trump began referring to her as “Pocahontas,” and frankly, Sen. Elizabeth Warren invited the ridicule. She is a poster child for the pitfalls of basing identity on race, and reminds us of the many furies such self-definition can unleash. What people choose to call...
Opinion: Unsparing look at Vietnam War’s mountain of mendacities

WASHINGTON — Early in his Marine Corps career, which he concluded as a four-star general, Walt Boomer was decorated for valor in Vietnam. He distilled into three words the lesson of that debacle: “Tell the truth.” Max Hastings, an eminent British journalist and historian, has done that in a book that is a painful but perhaps inoculating...
READERS WRITE: OCT. 21

AJC’s even-handed approach is appreciated As we approach the November elections, the “Hot Gates” of political debate are alive and well in the Georgia. I would like to thank the AJC for taking such a balanced approach, reporting what is happening in our great country and state and listening to what the citizenry has to say on many...
More Stories