Infrastructure of the State of Georgia

Instructor: Sunday Moulton

Sunday recently earned a PhD in Anthropology and has taught college courses in Anthropology, English, and high school ACT/SAT Prep.

In this lesson, we'll explore the various aspects of Georgia's infrastructure. We start with the most well-known forms, such as transportation, and continue on to discuss energy production, waste management, and healthcare.

What is Infrastructure?

If you've watched the news lately, you've heard a lot of talk about crumbling infrastructure, the need to rebuild, and the government's plans to invest in this rebuilding. However, do you know what infrastructure is? You might have a vague idea that it involves roads and bridges, but the term applies to much more. Infrastructure involves the essential facilities and structures instituted for public use. This includes transportation, energy, water, waste management, and emergency services.

Georgia's Infrastructure

In 2015, Area Development magazine ranked the state of George in second place of all U.S. states for infrastructure and global access. This distinction mainly comes from the vast transportation resources of the state, moving goods by air, sea, rail, and road. However, a recent evaluation by civil engineers stressed the need for significant improvements if the state wishes to maintain their vast, award-winning infrastructure. Now, let's look at each area individually.

Transportation

Let's start with the most traditional use of the term infrastructure to refer to transportation and the ability to ship commercial goods.

Air

Georgia's Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is the busiest airport in the world. Not only can passengers fly to most of the airports in the United States, they can fly to airports in 50 additional countries.

In addition to passenger travel, the airport heavily deals in commercial shipping with over 2 million square feet of warehouse space and the only USDA-approved cold-treatment storage facilities in the Southeast. This is a more efficient and safer method than using methyl bromide for cold storage.

The state is also home to an additional 98 airports open to public use. This means that most people in the state live within 45 miles of an airport.

Sea

With approximately 100 miles of coastline, it's no surprise the state also serves commercial shipping through not one, but two busy ports. The Port of Savannah was declared the most efficient seaport operation in North America and is rapidly growing even though it is the fourth-busiest container shipping port in the United States. It currently handles 20 percent of the East Coast's container shipping.

The Port of Savannah is the most efficient in North America.
Port of Savannah

The Port of Brunswick is a bit smaller, but it is the primary port for import vehicles in the country and the sixth-largest in the world. In addition to handling imports for 21 auto manufacturers, it is the second-largest port for exporting grain on the East Coast.

Railways

Long ago, the city of Atlanta began as a small settlement around a rail line's terminus. Even though Atlanta is now a major airline hub, railroads are still important to the state. Georgia is served by two different Class 1 railroad companies, CSX and Norfolk Southern. The classification is defined as those generating over $289.4 million in annual revenue. Therefore, it should come as any surprise that the state is home to 4,680 miles of train tracks.

Roadways

With the number of shipping companies operating from the seaports, airports, and railroads, it shouldn't surprise you that the interstate highways and state roads of Georgia help truck drivers to move over $600 billion in cargo each year. But it isn't just about carrying cargo, it's about people too.

Within Atlanta, public transportation goes by the name MARTA, Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority. Each weekday, half a million people ride the buses and trains around the city.

Bridges, Dams, Waterways, and Levees

Throughout the state, Georgia has a total of 14,835 bridges spanning various waterways as well as overpasses. However, their latest evaluation from the ASCE, the American Society of Civil Engineers, notes a significant need to replace 800 bridges deemed structurally deficient and another 2,000 considered functionally obsolete.

The state is also home to over 4,000 dams, 484 of which are considered high hazard dams, those restraining enough water that if they broke, it could pose a significant danger to the public. This doesn't mean they pose a hazard to people or are in danger of breaking, just that they are very large and holding a high volume of water in reserve.

Most dams in Georgia are small.
dam

These dams sit on Georgia's 720 miles of rivers and streams. Interestingly, only 21 miles of those waterways require levees to manage floodwaters.

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