By ASSOCIATED PRESS
Supporters of a proposed new interstate that would connect communities in five southern states say it would reduce poverty and improve the lives of residents along the route.
The proposed Interstate 14 would run from west Texas across Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia.
A map showing a route for the concept being promoted by its supporters shows it running through the central portions of all five states.
It would run from Interstate 10 in west Texas through the Killeen and College Station areas and cross through central Louisiana in the Alexandria area.
In Mississippi, it would run through the Natchez, Laurel and Meridian areas.
In Alabama, the conceptual route includes the communities of Selma, Montgomery and Phenix City.
In Georgia, it would connect Columbus with Macon and Augusta.
A University of Georgia student and two Alabama friends launched a nonprofit organization earlier this year to promote the concept, The Columbus Ledger-Enquirer reported.
A Columbus-based multi-media firm produced a video outlining the idea, and why supporters say the interstate should be built.
“Economic prosperity comes from trade, and Interstate 14 is about connecting places,” the narrator says in the video. “It will connect forts, it will connect ports, it will connect major cities.”
The goal is to draw attention to the proposed new interstate and the belief by its backers that it would help reduce poverty, create businesses and improve the lives of residents in communities along its route, the Columbus newspaper reported.
“I always start out by saying the biggest thing holding this back is lack of awareness. We have to get the word out about this,” said Frank Lumpkin IV, one of the three friends who began the nonprofit Youth Infrastructure Coalition.
“The politicians aren’t going to listen unless the constituency base is for this project, and for that to happen, they have to know about it,” he added.
The promotional video notes that a federal study was commissioned in 2010 to explore alternative routes from Natchez to Augusta, with the report presented to Congress.