Dear Sen. Chambliss, Sen. Isakson and Rep. Gingrey,
I am writing to request your assistance in a matter of great importance to Bartow County and all of Northwest Georgia. As you are aware, the Georgia Department of Transportation is currently engaged in the planning stages of a project to build a road to provide easier access to Interstate 75 for people coming from Rome. Most concerned citizens of Northwest Georgia acknowledge the benefits of this access for the people of Rome and Floyd County. However, I would agree with a large number of citizens that the current route proposed by the GDOT (known as Route D) is unnecessarily damaging to the environment, inordinately negative in its impact on the people in the communities through which the road would be built and extraordinarily excessive in its cost to all taxpayers.
Independent studies have concluded that the goal of easing the traffic flow from Rome/Floyd County to I-75 could be readily accomplished by selecting a different route (known as Route G). Clearly, this route should be known as the "responsible route". This alternative route would alleviate the devastating environmental impact on a threatened species called the Cherokee Darter. In this age of heightened environmental sensitivity, Georgia will lose considerable standing in the national, and international, community if it proceeds with a road project that will have an irreversible impact on a species already in peril. As Georgia leaders, such as you, make efforts to encourage businesses to expand in Georgia, this blight on our environmental record certainly will make it increasingly difficult to attract companies who have to answer to environmentally sensitive shareholders. This is particularly offensive when a viable option is available to accomplish the stated goal. The responsible route is environmentally sensitive.
The GDOT's proposed route will also have a dramatic impact on the citizens who live in the communities surrounding the route. There are hundreds of citizens of Bartow County who will be directly, and negatively, impacted by the slashing of a major road through their community. As someone who is blessed to live near Dobbins Mountain, I know, first-hand, how much the people who live in this area value the peace and quiet that this area provides. In addition to those of us who live immediately near the proposed route, there are thousands of citizens of Bartow County who will suffer from the unnecessary loss of beautiful green space such as Dobbins Mountain. In fact, all of the citizens of Georgia will suffer from the needless destruction of more of the mountain landscape that makes Northwest Georgia uniquely beautiful. The responsible route minimizes the impact on the people of Bartow County.
Furthermore, the alternative route (a.k.a. the responsible route) would cost half of the most conservative estimates for the route that the GDOT is currently pursuing. In this day of budget deficits on both the state and national level, it would be a travesty to waste so much additional money when a viable and more cost-effective route is available. Certainly, the taxpayers of Georgia deserve to have their state agencies make better use of the State's tax revenue. In addition, since a significant portion of the funding will be provided by the Federal government, it would be a disservice to the entire country for Georgia to so frivolously spend the nation's money. As voters across the country are calling on Congress to control spending on the federal level, now is surely not the time for Georgia to carelessly mishandle millions of taxpayer dollars. The responsible route is fiscally sound.
I recognize that the GDOT is a state agency and, as such, is not under the direct control of the federal government. However, since this flawed project is to be largely funded by the federal government, our congressional leaders do have the right, and the responsibility, to ensure that the scarce tax dollars that are available are managed wisely. In that spirit, I ask that you, as my elected representative, take a vocal leadership role in the public effort to have the GDOT change the route for this road. Your efforts could save the taxpayers millions of dollars that will be wasted if the GDOT continues to fight this senseless battle against the citizens who are committed to changing this route. Ultimately, either the GDOT will lose this battle with the constituents or our elected officials will.
There are thousands of Bartow County voters who are engaged in the effort to convince our government to choose the more cost-effective, environmentally friendly route that will minimize the impact on the citizens while still providing our neighbors in Rome with easier access to Interstate 75. In this election year, we are looking for, and supporting, government leaders who will join us in publicly advocating for the responsible choice for this road. The responsible route deserves your aggressive support.
Please let us know that we can count on you to be a champion for the right route for this road and for all of the people of Georgia. I look forward to hearing from you soon.