A safety group is questioning whether a proposed transportation safety project that would add several new miles of truck-only lanes on I-75 in Georgia has been well thought-out and could pose safety risks.
The two billion-dollar transportation project would add as many as 40 miles of trucks-only lanes between Macon and McDonough, and now it appears that the project was given the green light without a proper audit of whether is necessary or feasible. Earlier, an audit by the Georgia Department of Audits questioned the feasibility and viability of the project, and especially the wisdom involved in allowing such lanes. No other project in the United States has involved the installation of so many truck-only lanes, and according to the Georgia Department of Audits, the Department of Transportation green-lighted the project without sufficient evidence that the $2 billion price tag was a justified investment.
Now the United States Public Interest Research Group is also questioning the advisability of having so many truck-only lanes. The group has listed the project as one of the nation’s biggest highway boondoggles – and one that includes a massive waste of public time and money. Public Interest Research Group in its report is also criticizing governments across the United States for their propensity to rush into major transportation projects without bothering to fix a massive backlog of highway repair and other safety issues. In the case of the I-75 project, Public Interest Research Group says that the benefits to the trucking industry have been prioritized over recommendations to use railroads for movement of freight.
The Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) says that the project would reduce truck congestion and keep motorists safer. However, the Public Interest Research Group argues that a much smarter use of funds would be to use rail to transport freight from the Port of Savannah to other parts of Georgia, thereby removing trucks from the state’s highways altogether. Billions of dollars that are being used to build truck-only lanes could be better used by diverting those funds to badly needed highway and bridge repair projects across the state.
Besides, if the trucking lanes are toll-less, as they are very likely to be if the cost-conscious trucking industry has its way, the cost of maintaining these lanes would be passed on to the Georgia taxpayer, who would be left to pay for the construction as well as maintenance and upkeep of these lanes.
Meanwhile, thousands of miles of damaged or weak highways and bridges across the state continue to remain unattended due to lack of funds. The truck-only lane project is believed to be the most expensive in Georgia roadway history, and is twice as expensive as the next most expensive construction project ever undertaken in the state.