The GreenRoom: November 2005

“Because of the way we’ve protected our coast, Georgia would be able to bear the brunt of a hurricane like Katrina better than lot of surrounding states,” says Patty McIntosh, director of coastal resources for the Georgia Conservancy. “That’s rapidly changing, though, as encroaching development brings us closer and closer to looking like our neighbor states. The approach (to the threat of a hurricane) typically is to make stronger buildings; I hope we’ll take a stronger approach than that, in terms of where we’re placing new development.” The threat development poses to Georgia’s barrier islands and marshland is increasingly imminent, and not likely to be slowed in spite of Katrina’s aftermath. Jerry Griffin, executive director, Association County Commisioners of Georgia, says the South’s Atlantic and Gulf Coast population is growing by 3,600 people a day.

In Rabun County, Lucy Bartlett of the Stop I-3 Coalition has suggested diverting the $1.32 million in federal funding earmarked for the proposed interstate this year to rebuilding I-10 and the Gulf Coast. Georgia, which is served by several Interstates, does not need another – particularly of the north-south, three-football-fields-wide variety, particularly through its beautiful (and increasingly valuable) mountain communities. Commuter rail is a far more logical approach.

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