AUGUSTA, G.A. (WJBF) – Senator Raphael Warnock was in Augusta Friday talking infrastructure. He toured the city to get an up-close look at some areas that would benefit from the infrastructure bill he helped push through the senate.
That new bill will allocate funds to our city’s transportation, allowing easy access to areas that are in dire need of it.
“Which is why we worked so hard to pass this bi-partisan infrastructure bill, it’s way overdue,” said U.S. Senator Raphael Warnock.
That 1 trillion dollar bill passed last week.
Senator Warnock says around 25 million will go to public transportation.
“Coming out of this covid pandemic, not only must we build, but we have to build back better,” said Senator Warnock.
And he’s looking to build in Richmond county. During his tour, he says he saw a big need for improved transportation. He specifically pointed to Gordon Highway.
Senator Warnock says, “You have these hotels that have workers or their jobs there, but there’s not enough connectivity between the workers and the jobs where they need to do their work”
“We do have customers that are staying in some of those motels, who have to walk at least a mile to get to the bus stop,” said Dr. Oliver Page, Deputy Director for Augusta Transit.
Dr. Page says areas like Barton Chapel Road, Deans Bridge Road, and Morgan road have lots of residential development and jobs, but not a lot of transportation. Warnock says barriers like these are actually costing the city money.
“When people talk about the cost of this I think the question you have to ask yourself, is what’s the cost for not doing it. There’s a tax for not getting these kinds of things done,” said Senator Warnock.
Dr. Page says they are planning to buy electric buses with that money, but says it’s too early to tell. They’re also planning to extend bus service hours.
“The fact that we don’t have third shift bus service many people miss out on overtime and if they do get overtime, taking Uber or Lyft wipes out the overtime they just earned,” he said.
But that’s not all.
“We are aiming to introduce microtransit, which is a public transportation equivalent to uber and lyft”
These developments could call for more jobs at Augusta transit. Senator Warnock says funds from the infrastructure bill will also go towards construction projects at Augusta Regional Airport.
“Our airports, look too much like the last century, and that’s beneath the American promise,” said Senator Warnock.
Senator Warnock’s next stop will be in Atlanta on Saturday, August 21.