Skip to comments.19-year-old proposes adding a major interstate in Columbus. Councilors support the idea.
Posted on 11/22/2017 1:09:40 AM PST by Tolerance Sucks Rocks
Imagine a major interstate running through Columbus, spurring economic development, prosperity and connecting military installations along the way.
Thats the scenario that 19-year-old Frank Lumpkin IV presented to Columbus Council Tuesday, while making a pitch for Columbus to be connected to a major interstate that will run from Meridian, Texas, to Augusta.
Lumpkin, a 2017 Columbus High School graduate now enrolled at the University of Georgia, said I-14 Texas already has been designated by Congress and is currently being built in segments. The first 25-mile stretch officially opened on January 26, 2017 near Killeen, Texas and Fort Hood.
If built locally, I-14 could run along Highway 80/ J.R. Allen Parkway/Sam Wellborn Highway, a road that is already built to interstate standards, Lumpkin explained using PowerPoint slides with details. He said the Trump administrations plans for infrastructure improvements could help fund the project.
The additions would have to be made on the eastern end of J.R. Allen, where limited access ends, he said. Most parts going through Columbus would not require the process of eminent domain to take place. We have options as far as areas that do need construction. And if we get started soon, we can make these additions before east Columbus becomes denser.
Speaking during the public agenda, Lumpkin asked councilors to pass a resolution advocating support for I-14 and to submit it to the proper state and federal officials; push for reservation of land on the east end of Highway 80/J.R. Allen Parkway and ask the Chamber of Commerce to be the point of contact for communication with other cities, towns and counties along the route.
Later in the meeting, councilors added support for Lumpkins proposal to the citys 2018 state legislative agenda with a unanimous vote, which came as a pleasant surprise to the teenager.
Thats awesome, he said after the meeting. My hard work is paying off, I guess.
Lumpkin, currently a finance/real estate major at UGA, is a private pilot and Eagle Scout. Hes also a former member of the citys Youth Advisory Council. He said the idea developed while participating in the Chamber of Commerces Youth Leadership Columbus as a junior in high school.
One of the questions at the meeting was, What is holding Columbus back?
My answer to that was infrastructure, he said in an interview with the Ledger-Enquirer. And then I wrote: Airports, Railways, and Highways.
That afternoon, Mayor Teresa Tomlinson spoke at the meeting. She saw his idea, and asked, Who wrote this?
The mayor then talked about how much she agreed with his assessment that infrastructure was holding Columbus back, Lumpkin recalled. From there, he delved into research, doing his senior project on Columbus aviation needs. He later began looking into the interstate issue.
Talking to the Ledger-Enquirer, Lumpkin said his great-grandfathers brother is Wilson Lumpkin, who served as governor of Georgia in the 1800s. His great-grandfather, Frank, served as the states chief justice.
... And very interestingly, my great-grandfather, I believe it is, was chief on the commission to build Highway 80...which Im trying to turn into Interstate 14 now, he said. I figured that out after beginning to work on this project.
Lumpkin said I-14 is currently being built in the Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi corridors, but little is being done in Georgia and Alabama. He said Columbus cant afford to miss another opportunity to be connected to an interstate.
Years ago when the interterstate system was established by President Eisenhower, there were plans for I-85 to come through Columbus, he said. However, at that time our city leaders decided that an Interstate would not be positive for Columbus. As times progressed, history has proven that cities not connected by the interstates tend to be isolated. Though Columbus has I-185, its just a spur, and we remain largely unconnected from the rest of the nation.
I-14 is our second chance, he said. ... It is more than just a concept.
Following his presentation, councilors commended him for the research and expressed support for the project. His parents, Tammy and Frank Lumpkin III, sat proudly in the audience.
Frank, I never cease to be amazed by you, and this is a fantastic presentation, said Councilor Walker Garrett. He made reference to Dr. Bob Wright, who was up next on the public agenda to request that councilors support state gambling legislation.
I think it has a lot of tie-ins and I think Dr. Wright might have some interest in this presentation, too, Garrett said. And I will be happy to be a sponsor for the resolution you proposed. I think its a great idea. ... I thought when I ran for council, What would happen if an Interstate ran through Columbus? And we now have an opportunity. We now have a second chance.
Councilor Evelyn Mimi Woodson recommended that Lumpkin meet with staff from the citys planning and engineering departments, as well as representatives from Fort Benning, the Chamber of Commerce, state legislators and congressional representatives.
A resolution is a wonderful thing, but its more impressive when you have the buy-in and have lots of people behind you, she said. I think its an awesome idea. ... Were always wanting young professionals like yourself to come forward, because one day we will not be here and the future is yours and this city is yours.
Lumpkin showed a map from a UGA study showing in red persistent poverty throughout the United States by county.
Almost all the area 14 travels through are depicted in red, showing that these areas are in need of great relief from this poverty, he explained. Like the 14th Amendment ended slavery, the interstate would provide means to an end for the many living in persistent poverty across the southeast. Interstates have been proven to bring economic prosperity to people living near them.
Other benefits he mention, included:
More connectivity between Fort Benning and a number of military installations, seaports and major cities. A means for Columbus to get ahead of its growth, unlike Atlanta and Houston who are scrambling now to accommodate day-to-day commuter traffic. Making Columbus a thru-way, as well as a destination city, where people would stop to shop, dine, visit attractions and stay in hotels Opportunities for economic development through existing companies and by recruiting new business to the city.
Columbus, Georgia. It sits at the intersection of U.S. 80 and I-185.
"What a great idea, junior! How do you propose to pay for all of that?"
"We'll raise taxes on the rich, of course..."
Columbus/Muscogee country pushed our “region” into one of the special transportation tax increases for Georgia. Even the liberal Atlanta region rejected this but Columbus pushed it through which includes my rural country north of it. What do we get for the increased 1% gas tax? Pretty much nothing. What does Columbus get? Improved transportation? No. They get an improved riverwalk, they get more city buses and routes where they can take the average 203 riders per bus now and I guess get it down to 1-2 riders per bus/route. Columbus is a liberal cesspool that does what liberal cities do. They raise taxes and spend like drunken sailors over and over and then wonder why that never really solves the issues.
There needs to be an Interstate all the way from Columbus to Macon to Augusta IMHO.
This isn’t what Georgia needs. I-10 and I-20 already cover the east-west traffic adequately. What Georgia needs is a freeway from I-75 going southwest to I-10 so Interstate traffic doesn’t have to go all the way east to Jacksonville. Look at the map.
This Interstate has had Congressional support for the past 15 years or so:
Starting where? Interstate 16 already does what you propose, I believe.
I-16 doesn’t go to I-10. It goes east to I-95. There needs to be a freeway from I-75 to I-10 for west bound traffic. Macon would be a good starting point. Macon to Tallahassee perhaps.
We have that freeway. It’s called I-85.
Frank, your ideas from middle school are okay. But, watch out. Somebody is grooming you for something.
This 19 y/o should save this story for his scrapbook. When he’s 70 y/o, and still doesn’t have his interstate, he can reminisce.
I take it the kid got his inspiration from Atlanta.
That’s pretty much in the middle of nowhere. Between Clifton and Iredall, Morgan and Cranfills Gap. Nearest interstate is about 28 miles away.
There is one. I85 to I65 takes you from I75 in Atlanta to I10 at Mobile.
What Georgia needs are bypasses from I85 to I75 well east and west of Atlanta to take the north-south traffic out of Atlanta.
Since all 3 locations are in Georgia, the state could build a road by itself that would not require federal approvals, regulations, etc. Of course, that would mean that the state must provide the funding.
By the time its built well all be flying.
Our “city” just elected a freaking 20 year old student from the local “designer hippie” college to City Council. She had wicked amounts of advertising dollars.
Can’t wait for the genius to start pontificating about how we old morons are supposed to live.
That was my first thought...There are people in this country who do not know their geography and that there really are multiple cities with the same name in different states.. It would help if people would add the state to the title... Until I saw “military”, I assumed it was Columbus, OH!
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