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Thursday, February 18, 2010 - 8:19am

Georgia Denied Transportation Stimulus

Federal transporation officials have announced $1.5 billion in transportation stimulus. Georgia, however, won't get any of that money.

Fifty-one Georgia projects faced stiff competition for the funds, requested through the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) program.

The U.S. Transportation Department, which awards the funds on a discretionary basis, received requests totalling 40 times what they had to give.

Jo Hickson of the Coastal Georgia Greenway wanted $9 million to build a bike trail through six coastal counties.

"We felt all along that we would be as competitive as any other state or any other city or any other region," Hickson says. "And to not have any funds allocated to our state is certainly a setback."

A bike trail could create jobs and boost tourism.

"The trail would have added a new destination activity so that visitors to our coast could stay and spend a little more time outside on a bike," Hickson says. "And that would certainly help our local businesses."

Other Georgia projects denied include a highway to get container trucks more quickly from Interstate 95 to the Port of Savannah. That project is known as the Jimmy DeLoach Parkway.

Atlanta also requested funds to put a street car on its tourist corridor, Peachtree Street.

Applicants vow to raise the needed funds other ways.

It's the second time recently that Georgia's been stiffed in federal transportation funding.

Earlier, the state got a relative pittance for high speed rail while other nearby states received hundreds of millions of dollars.

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