It’s a long drive from El Paso, Texas, to Augusta: some 1,500-plus miles from the western tip of Texas to the Georgia/South Carolina border, stretching the horizontal breadth of five states.

It’s a difficult drive, too, if for some reason you wanted to make the trek, over winding county roads and two-lane state highways. But that might all change as Congress considers funding a new Interstate 14 project as part of a trillion dollar infrastructure plan, connecting key military installations as part of a high priority corridor.

More importantly for Middle Georgians than speeding up the trip to Texas’ “Sun City” is the easier drive they’ll have between Columbus and Augusta. Such a project, once completed, would bring people, jobs and tax revenue, the kind of “economic” development so prized by cites and counties.

Gary Wheat, president and CEO of Visit Macon, said a new interstate would introduce new travelers to Macon as well as opportunities for economic development.

“Anytime you increase access for people, that leads to growth and potential to market to new visitors, new audiences,” he said. “So, that increases the workforce, increases opportunity for economic development as well as tourism revenues.”

A well-planned and well-timed route could benefit multiple Middle Georgia communities and create opportunities to develop stops off of exits with hotels, gas stations and restaurants, he said.

With I-75 and I-16, Wheat said Macon has become a hub destination for Georgia, and the interstates contribute to the 3,800 jobs that are supported by the hospitality and tourism industries in Bibb County.

“Those are arteries, and those arteries are the lifeblood of visitation and tourism and development and distribution and in a lot of things that encompass our economic profile here,” he said.

The new interstate is not a done deal: Congress still needs to vote on the infrastructure plan that I-14 is baked into. But the project already has bipartisan support, passing the Senate with no objections after being proposed by rare bedfellows Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-GA) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX).

The new interstate would be based at least in part on existing roads, including the Fall Line Freeway in Georgia, which snakes through most of Middle Georgia including Jones, Twiggs, Baldwin, Wilkinson, Crawford, Peach and Bibb counties, hitting Fort Valley, Macon and running south of Milledgeville.

Warnock told reporters Wednesday that the interstate would be an “important part of the puzzle” in efforts to spur economic growth across portions of the state that have been “forgotten and neglected.”