ALBANY, Ga. -- The push to expand an Albany-to-Valdosta connector is getting more support from U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss, whose office today confirmed that he is pushing for a $1 million earmark in the transportation bill for the project.
Touted as a key economic corridor by local officials, the push to expand U.S. Highway 133 from Albany to Valdosta will be a massive undertaking, expected to cost somewhere around $400 million, Dougherty County Commission Chairman Jeff Sinyard said.
According to Chambliss Press Secretary Ashley Nelson, the Georgia senator has requested that $1 million for the project be worked into the Senate's version of the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations bill.
But whether the funding will remain in the bill is unclear.
"It is unclear what the Senate will do with the appropriations bills this year," Nelson wrote. "No timeline has been set for the Senate to consider its version of the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations bill, and we're not sure in what form this bill will come to the Senate floor."
Sinyard called Chambliss' efforts gratifying and said having the support of the legislative delegation will aid in getting the project off the ground.
"We're blessed to have the support of Congressman (Sanford) Bishop, our two Senators -- Johnny and Saxby -- and Rep. (Jack) Kingston behind this," Sinyard said. "They, like us, recognize that this corridor is vital for sustaining the jobs we have and growing southwest Georgia."
The expansion will likely be a multigenerational project before all is said and done. Sinyard said the widening will allow for sustainability and security at Marine Corps Logistics Base-Albany and the growth of industry along the highway from Albany to Moultrie to Valdosta.