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Atlanta-Savannah rail revived again?

House resolution introduced for study committee

— The proposed Atlanta-to-Savannah high-speed rail line may have more lives than a cat.

The idea to create this rail line has lived and died many times. The most recent death came last year, when metro Atlanta voters rejected a one-cent sales tax designed to fund several transportation projects, including planning for an Atlanta-to-Griffin commuter rail line that was seen as a first step toward the Atlanta-to-Savannah line.

But the concept just won’t die. This time, however, maybe Clayton County will get something out of it.

The proposal got a new lease on life this week, when state Rep. Craig Gordon (D-Savannah) introduced a resolution calling for the creation of a House of Representative Study Committee to look into the rail line.

State Rep. Ronnie Mabra (D-Fayetteville) said Clayton County could benefit economically because residents of middle Georgia would have rail access to local attractions such as the National Archives at Atlanta and the Georgia Archives.

“If we can make Clayton County a point of destination, it will stimulate the economy and put people to work,” said Mabra, a member of the Clayton County Legislative Delegation, is a co-sponsor for the resolution.

The resolution has drawn bi-partisan support from state representatives in the Atlanta and Savannah areas who have signed on as co-sponsors. It has already gotten two readings in the House and is expected to go to the chamber’s transportation committee next week.

If the resolution passes, Speaker of the House David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge) would appoint five members of the House to the committee. Those representatives would study what conditions, issues and needs have to be addressed by the state, if it decided to create the rail line.

The committee would also have the authority to recommend legislation deemed necessary to make the rail line a reality.

The resolution brings an economic pitch to the back-and-forth argument of the necessity of a commuter rail line.

Gordon has tied an Atlanta-to-Savannah high-speed rail line to plans to deepen the Savannah River’s shipping channel, as well as efforts to increase the amount of cargo flown in and out of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

“A direct rail link between the home city of the world’s busiest airport and Savannah has the potential to greatly impact Georgia’s economic vitality,” the resolution states.

“A high-speed rail line connecting Atlanta to Savannah could quickly transport passengers for business and pleasure and be available to move cargo from the Port of Savannah to Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, reducing the amount of cars and trucks on Georgia roadways.”

Gordon was traveling from Atlanta to Savannah Friday and was not immediately available for comment.

Although the Atlanta-to-Savannah rail line idea has lived and died many times, Mabra said the Savannah port tie to this effort should help it be more successful than previous attempts.

The port deepening is popular among state leaders, which may be why it has been tied to this rail effort.

Mabra said the effects of not having infrastructure to handle increased cargo out of Savannah and Atlanta will be a key point supporters will have to drive home to their colleagues.

“We need to look at the deeper port and say, ‘OK, now what about the infrastructure that you need to move all of this cargo?’ ” he said.

Mabra said the resolution is an attempt to see how the state can “move in the right direction” to maximize the benefits from more cargo at the airport and a deeper port in Savannah.

It already has commuter rail supporters, such as Georgians for Passenger Rail Chief Executive Officer Gordon Kenna, watching with interest from the sidelines.

“I think it’s a step in the right direction,” said Kenna. “It’s something that would certainly be worth looking into.”

Kenna said it would be difficult to gain state-wide funding support for the Atlanta-to-Savannah rail line, and he suggested a more localized funding area along the rail line corridor.

Lining up a funding mechanism — which would likely have to be a mixture of federal and local moneys — would be an issue, he said.

“It’s going to be hard to get somebody from Waycross to agree to pay for an Atlanta-to-Savannah rail line unless it goes through Waycross,” Kenna said. “Maybe they shouldn’t look at it that way, but that’s the way Georgia looks at passenger rail.”

Comments

DE 1 year, 7 months ago

The cost doesn't justify the means. It's approximately 250 miles between Hartsfield airport and Savannah GA. A 4 hour drive. High speed rail may cut 2 hours off of that time. The tax dollars that would be funded to pay for and fund the operation of a project of this size would be better used in other ways.

Amtrak is and has been for years in financial troubles and the ridership in their main corridors in the northeast are almost always full.

WE DON'T NEED ANOTHER RAIL LINE SUCKING TAX DOLLARS OUT OF OUR DWINDLING TAX BASE!!!

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OscarKnight 1 year, 7 months ago

......"local attractions such as the National Archives at Atlanta and the Georgia Archives"

........Is this the only reason ???????

.............HA, Ha, Ha !!!!!

http://www.news-daily.com/weblogs/oscarknight/2012/dec/10/the-clayton-county-funnies/

http://www.news-daily.com/users/photos/2012/dec/10/59873/

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OscarKnight 1 year, 7 months ago

....Riddle Me with this :

.....What is the motivation factor, behind these tax sucking Legislators from this county ?

.......This is like pumping more water into a sinking boat.

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OscarKnight 1 year, 7 months ago

.....In Clayton County; Our Cups Runlet Over with Unfair Representation in our Gold Dome.

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OscarKnight 1 year, 7 months ago

...Good for Savannah, and Good for Atlanta's Airport; But Clayton County will be used as a pawn in this scheme.

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OscarKnight 1 year, 7 months ago

...Let Us keep a very close eye, on our Legislators, from this county.

....This is the Bill; follow it :

......2013-2014 Regular Session - HR 174 House Study Committee on Atlanta-Savannah High Speed Rail; create

http://www.legis.ga.gov/Legislation/en-US/display/20132014/HR/174

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Michael 1 year, 7 months ago

Can anyone show me a rapid rail system that has ever been self sustaining, or profitable? It just ain't there. Stick his high speed rail line into the dust bin of really stupid ideas our legislator in the gold dome have come up with.

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Robert 1 year, 7 months ago

If I understand the basic concept, certain people and politicians want to move money from one economically depressed side of the state to another economically depressed side of the state and to move that small amount of money through a means that cost a whole lot of money. But wait ! People in Savannah who can't get a job in Savannah can get jobs in Atlanta and the people who can't get a job in Atlanta can get a job in Savannah. But it will create construction jobs. Another project plan coming in over budget and lining the pockets of those certain people and politicians. One hand washes the other.

Personally if it does manage to go through I hope it comes right through my neighborhood, go ahead buy me out, I dare ya to buy me out.

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Michael 1 year, 7 months ago

Robert, they may buy you out after they declare your property to be a blight and eyesore. Further, they will take your property under eminent domain, and even the SCOTUS has declared that you don't have many rights to challenge it.

I fear that we won't have any say in this money grab by the politicians. What really confuses me is that the politicians say we the taxpayers are greedy because we want to keep what we have worked for and earned.

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DE 1 year, 7 months ago

And here's another question I have. If this "High Speed Rail" is going to make all these stops in these small towns that approve it, how is it going to be high speed?

Can anyone say Greyhound?

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OscarKnight 1 year, 7 months ago

.....HB 6 : Another Transit Rail Bill :

2013-2014 Regular Session

HB 6 Piedmont Altamaha Transit Authority Act; enact

Sponsored By

(1) Waites, Keisha 60th

(2) Scott, Sandra 76th

(3) Stovall, Valencia 74th

http://www.legis.ga.gov/Legislation/en-US/display/20132014/HB/6

(( " 1- To establish the Piedmont Altamaha Transit Authority; to provide a short title; to authorize 2 - such authority to acquire, construct, maintain, operate, and own a high-speed intercity and 3 - urban rail, tram, and bus transit system in the Counties of Bibb, Butts, Clayton, Henry, and 4 - Monroe; to provide for the membership and for the appointment of members of the authority 5 - and their term of tenure and compensation; to provide for meetings; to provide for the 6 - controlling of funds; to provide for powers; to provide for the issuance of contracts; to 7 - provide for the setting of rates, fares, tolls, and charges; to provide for construction of this 8 - Act; to provide for related matters; to provide for an effective date; to repeal conflicting laws; 9 - and for other purposes." ))

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OscarKnight 1 year, 7 months ago

......Riddle me with this :

.....Where would the money come from, to maintain these Transportation Rails & Bus Services ?

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Robert 1 year, 7 months ago

It's magic money. All the government has to do is print some more and then print some more, and some more. It's magic.

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OscarKnight 1 year, 7 months ago

...These Tranportion Rails, and Bus Rides, will be the Magic Carpet Rides for doom in this county.

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DE 1 year, 7 months ago

The deeper port in Savannah won't be used for cruise ships. It's being dredged to allow more cargo ships into the port. This cargo is either trucked from Savannah or put on regular railroads, not high speed rail. The same thing in reverse from Hartsfield to Savannah.

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OscarKnight 1 year, 7 months ago

....These Rails are meant to transport people, but the problem with this is finding enough people to transport, to make the rail worth the cost.

.....If C-Tran couldn't pay itself, what would make The Rail any different ?

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