20-year-old Columbus man proposes major interstate

VIDEO: 20-year-old Columbus man proposes major interstate

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - "This city needs to be connected to the rest of the grid. We sit very isolated and are the largest city of our size, not on a major thruway interstate," says Frank Lumpkin, IV with the Youth Infrastructure Coalition.

Lumpkin, who is just 20-years-old, is proposing adding a major interstate to Columbus called Interstate-14 to bring economic development and connectivity to other major cities.

"It's a great opportunity for economic impact on really everybody in the area like businesses, people and manufacturers coming in," says Vice President of YIC Justus Armstrong.

They say the first 25-mile stretch opened in January of 2017 near Killeen and Fort Hood, Texas and the interstate would end in Augusta, Georgia but will go through Columbus and Phenix City to get there.

City Councilman-elect John House says it could be everything the city needs.

"It's something that could've happened fifty years ago, but it didn't and will never happen if we don't go after it," says House.

If built, it could run along Highway 80, better known as J.R. Allen Parkway, and Sam Wellborn Highway.

The Youth Infrastructure Coalition says it could have a big military impact by connecting a significant number of military installations like Fort Benning, a heavily populated base, and Fort Hood, the biggest active duty base of the U.S. Armed Forces.

"For the future of having Fort Benning, the Chattahoochee Valley's largest employer here, we need to make sure they're connected to the grid and give them a reason to stay here," says Lumpkin.

"I think it would help Fort Benning from the standpoint of being connected, but it will help Columbus a lot, and Phenix City and this whole area. The whole Chattahoochee Valley area I think would benefit greatly from having a thru interstate," says House.

House says now the plan is to get the project on the Georgia Department of Transportation's list for construction.

It could take more than a decade to complete if built.

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