On any given hour, hundreds of huge 18-wheelers are squeezing their way through downtown Valdosta, Georgia. Mayor John Fretti, who actually owns a trucking business, says directing that traffic around busy downtown is the right thing to do.
"We want to make it easier on truckers, and I know trucking, and I know how truckers think; we don't want to touch our clutch or break as often as we have to, and so we'd rather take a longer route, if it’s easier for truck traffic."
Mayor Fretti wants to reach a deal with Georgia DOT and swap ownership of state roads in downtown. In return, the city would hand over perimeter road, which would then become the main artery for truckers looking to pass through the azalea city. Downtown business owners say they like the plan.
"When there's so many trucks down here, they're in the way. You have to start and stop, and then you don't want to walk around downtown because there's these trucks driving by, and its not pretty," said Jessie Newman the Owner of Jessie's Eats & Treats.
Mayor Fretti agrees, saying improving downtown is key to its future success. But it's a large complex plan, and right now the mayor just wants to put in the first part of the program to encourage truckers to avoid downtown. City officials are still in talks with Georgia Department of Transportation, and it could be several months before changes are made.