Should I-185 be extended to the Florida line?

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Lawmakers from Southwest Georgia are hoping a better highway system would give one of the state’s most economically depressed regions a boost.

The Georgia House Transportation Committee approved a resolution Thursday asking the state Department of Transportation to study the potential costs and benefits of extending Interstate 185 south from Columbus to the Florida line and widening Georgia 300 through Albany into four or more lanes.

The four-laning of U.S. 27 south of Columbus was completed several years ago, a project that was done piecemeal over the course of several decades. Extending I-185 along the U.S. 27 corridor through Blakely and Bainbridge would upgrade the highway to interstate standards.

“This could help us,” Rep. Gerald Greene, R-Cuthbert, the resolution’s chief sponsor, told Transportation Committee members Thursday. “Maybe we can have some economic development in this region.”

South Georgia lawmakers cosponsoring Greene’s legislation include Reps. Winfred Dukes, D-Albany; John LaHood, R-Valdosta; Penny Houston, R-Nashville, and Randy Nix, R-LaGrange.

The resolution heads next to the House Rules Committee to schedule a vote of the full House.

This story available through a news partnership with Capitol Beat News Service, a project of the Georgia Press Educational Foundation.

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