Government

More News | | | Editor

Augusta route called slowest of high-speed rail plans

Wednesday, June 5, 2013 8:18 AM
Last updated 6:43 PM
  • Follow Government

SUWANEE, Ga. -- A proposal to run a high-speed rail line from Atlanta to Charlotte through Augusta would be the slower option, officials said Tuesday.

SUWANEE, Ga. -- People from Athens metro Atlanta met Tuesday to offer comments on the environmental impact of six proposed routes for a high-speed train between Atlanta and Charlotte, N.C., and linking to Washington and New York. One route would go through Athens, one through Augusta.   Walter Jones/ Morris News Service
Walter Jones/ Morris News Service
SUWANEE, Ga. -- People from Athens metro Atlanta met Tuesday to offer comments on the environmental impact of six proposed routes for a high-speed train between Atlanta and Charlotte, N.C., and linking to Washington and New York. One route would go through Athens, one through Augusta.

Nearly 75 people attended a public meeting in suburban Atlanta to gain information and to comment on six proposed routes for a high-speed rail line linking two of the South’s major economic centers.

One of the proposals would go through Augusta and Columbia. A different one would go through Athens.

Augusta didn’t send a delegation. It can still have input through written comments either mailed to the Georgia Department of Transportation or submitted online.

“At this point, there is no preferred route based on any one consideration,” said DOT Project Manager Derrick Cameron.

Officials said the Augusta-Columbia route is the longest and would have the slowest speeds due to the twists and turns, but it also links the largest population centers. Other routes have different combinations of strengths and weaknesses.

The meeting, held at a city building in Suwanee because it’s the site of a likely station, was the first of a series of meetings in three states during the early phases of planning the train line. Significant details such as the cost of construction and the price of a passenger ticket remain to be worked out, including which entity would actually own and run the railroad.

The biggest question, how to pay for it, will be left to the politicians sometime in 2015 after the $4 million study is completed.

Most of the people looking at the maps and asking questions were from metro Atlanta, but a vanload from Athens came to campaign for the city’s inclusion.

“We’re lobbying for a route that will connect Athens to the line,” said Doc Eldridge, president of the Athens Area Chamber of Commerce.

Jack Crowley, a University of Georgia professor who once served as Oklahoma’s transportation chief, said the train would benefit the college community.

“If Athens and the university are going to connect to the rest of the world, it’s got to connect to the airport,” he said.

Designers included the airports in Atlanta and Charlotte and proposed a stop at the Greenville-Spartanburg airport, as well.

The engineers and consultants at Tuesday’s meeting stressed that this step is a high-level evaluation using readily available information. The next phase would require on-site assessments, surveys and detailed analysis.

“It’s going to be revisited at least a couple more times before you build it,” said Andrew Smith, a member of the consulting firm HNTB Corporation conducting the study.

SHARE YOUR VIEW

Written comments can be sent to:

Glenn Bowman

State Environmental Administrator

Georgia Department of Transportation

600 W. Peachtree St.

Atlanta, GA 40408

Online comments and maps of the actual routes are at www.dot.ga.gov/AtlantaCharlotteHSR

Comments (19) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
Riverman1
93860
Points
Riverman1 06/05/13 - 07:51 am
6
2
Since it appears the thing

Since it appears the thing won't be routed through Augusta, let's all get behind defeating this boondoggle. No Peach Blossom Special in our future.

seenitB4
97785
Points
seenitB4 06/05/13 - 08:05 am
3
0
Money-honey..

Put the dang money on a route from Gwinnett to North Fulton or into Cummings Ga...WE NEED THAT!

GnipGnop
12744
Points
GnipGnop 06/05/13 - 08:06 am
4
0
I wouldn't dismiss it River

Depends on who in Augusta will make money from it. "Officials said the Augusta-Columbia route is the longest and would have the slowest speeds due to the twists and turns" doesn't that perfectly describe Augusta's politics???

Riverman1
93860
Points
Riverman1 06/05/13 - 08:12 am
2
0
Gnip Gnop, if they call it

Gnip Gnop, if they call it "The City of Regents" maybe. Be gone 500 miles when the day is done and all that.

Dixieman
17430
Points
Dixieman 06/05/13 - 08:51 am
4
1
Tell you what

Trade it to Athens if in return we get to keep MCG here.

ColdBeerBoiledPeanuts
11099
Points
ColdBeerBoiledPeanuts 06/05/13 - 08:52 am
2
0
Profit and use

The Augusta/Columbia route would be the most profitable of routes. It's a shame that the ARC "Leaders" don't realize what a boost it could be here. There is no need for anymore rail lines or spurs since all that are necessary already exist here. Wherever the station/depot is located will have increased business from people waiting for the train to arrive or getting off the train. The support business and industry that comes with it, Rental cars, restaurants, lodging and shopping in the area. I'm surprised Countyman is not tripping over his keyboard on this!

David Parker
7923
Points
David Parker 06/05/13 - 09:14 am
2
0
Lemme take a wild guess...

"The biggest question, how to pay for it"

to tell the truth1
210
Points
to tell the truth1 06/05/13 - 09:44 am
3
0
Rail system

Well said cold beer. All of my relatives are in the Charlotte area, guess why? Better jobs and opportunities. This is a chance for this out dated city to grow economically. Not to mention the cost of gas and the wear and tear on a vehicle. I'd hop on it any day.

badmoon426
1187
Points
badmoon426 06/05/13 - 10:01 am
3
0
A Billion Here a Billion There...

...pretty soon we will be talking real money.

Yes, I saw GPB Chip Rogers posting about this high speed rail connection between Atlanta and Charlotte as well. If Atlanta can't get money to expand MARTA, how is the state going to finance this billion dollar project?

I agree it sounds like a wonderful project but where is the money for it?

Michael Strickland
3
Points
Michael Strickland 06/05/13 - 10:02 am
1
0
Not Cost Effective

To run a high speed rail from Atlanta to Charlotte through Augusta would not be cost effective for anyone. It would defeat the purpose of "high speed". No one would use it. Now a high speed rail line connecting Atlanta to Charleston SC through Augusta would and could work. It is interesting that no one from Augusta's leadership even went to this meeting.

TakeAHike
191
Points
TakeAHike 06/05/13 - 10:41 am
3
0
How much slower?

That's a useless article! How about some facts and figures? How much slower would the route through Augusta be? Why didn't anyone from Augusta go?
Personally I love the high speed rail in Europe. It makes travel so much easier and relaxing than driving. If there were an option, I'd use it -- but it would have to connect to transportation in the destination (not just rental cars!).

GnipGnop
12744
Points
GnipGnop 06/05/13 - 12:28 pm
3
0
Probably because....

they weren't promised Braves tickets for going?

Riverman1
93860
Points
Riverman1 06/05/13 - 03:23 pm
4
1
Reality

This story didn't stay on page one long. I am surprised so many believe this billion dollar boondoggel may be a good thing. How is the rest of the state that doesn't get the rail going to feel having to support this thing? We are going to commit a fortune to a project to serve a couple of cities? We are going to pay the millions in yearly maintenance to a rail where tickets will be so expensive few can ride? Someone talked about personal savings on driving expenses, but wait until you see the ticket price.

So what's the reason for the rail? Some say it decreases traffic, but studies in Europe shows that's not the case. The few riders don't decrease traffic THAT much. The train simply can't be justified even if some think it's like riding the Disneyland Monorail.

Finally, realize this whole thing will tie up our transportation funding for so long, it is a multigenerational project where no one under about 3 years old would ever ride the thing.

countyman
21638
Points
countyman 06/05/13 - 06:22 pm
2
2
Light rail

ColdBeer. I've already expressed the desire to build the multimodal system downtown(buses, streetcar, light rail, police precint)... We don't need the FEDS to construct the modern streetcar system connecting the CBD/Medical District/Paine College, and possibly extending to GRU Summerville campus. The Augusta Greenway could be incorporated into the design to make it even more attractive.
http://augustagreenway.org/wordpress/

I think the Augusta Exchange or Village at Riverwatch are the best locations in the suburbs.

Augusta should do everything it can to become the first route built in the future. Greenville may have the advantage of being near the I-85 corridor, but the cities of Augusta/Columbia equals more residents.

nocnoc
49223
Points
nocnoc 06/05/13 - 06:52 pm
2
0
Any person able to read a

Any person able to read a map

The fastest route from Point A to Point B. was 245 miles
Using a Atlanta, Augusta, Columbia, Charlotte route was 313 Miles.

But I will also say using the I-85 corridor is shorter in miles .
Logistically and operationally it will end up costing more to build, more $$$ to acquire right-of-way and will end up with more in-between -stops.

My question continues to be WHY do this to begin with?
It seems a MASSIVE WASTE of Taxpayer money we don't have and most aren't willing to be taxed any more to start it.

Gage Creed
19410
Points
Gage Creed 06/05/13 - 07:01 pm
1
1
amazing...simply amazing

amazing...simply amazing

GnipGnop
12744
Points
GnipGnop 06/05/13 - 07:06 pm
3
1
So you want all these amenities for downtown....

what do the people that pay taxes in West Augusta and South Augusta get? Why should we finance projects that benefit for profit schools that use our tax dollars in the first place?

countyman
21638
Points
countyman 06/05/13 - 11:25 pm
1
5
Negativity & Pessimism

Why do some people want no amenities for Augusta? Their negative in terms of anything positive related to Augusta featured on the Chronicle.

Gage Creed
19410
Points
Gage Creed 06/06/13 - 08:32 pm
0
0
Cheer up....it's almost First

Cheer up....it's almost First Friday and there will most likely be a whole new series of events to spin...

Back to Top
loading...
Search Augusta jobs