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High-speed rail linking Atlanta and Charlotte could pass through Augusta

Line would connect Atlanta, Charlotte

Monday, June 3, 2013 4:38 PM
Last updated Tuesday, June 4, 2013 1:22 AM
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Augusta’s on the map as a potential stop for a high-speed passenger train.

Three public meetings – the first of which is tonight in Suwanee, Ga. – are planned before the U.S. Department of Transportation narrows six possible routes it identified for a high-speed rail corridor linking Atlanta and Charlotte, N.C.

Augusta residents wanting to give their input will have to travel. The closest meeting is about 120 miles away in Greer, S.C., on Wednesday. The final meeting is in Charlotte on Thursday.

The meetings are part of a required environmental study that will help determine the feasibility of the high-speed rail line and its potential effects on the area.

Originally, the Atlanta-to-Charlotte Passenger Rail Corridor Investment

Plan identified the study area as a corridor in northeast Georgia and the South Carolina Upstate that encompassed Interstate 85 and an existing Norfolk Southern railroad.

As the study progressed, alternative routes were added, with two through Augusta and Columbia the southernmost route, according to Georgia Department of Transportation spokeswoman Jill Goldberg.

State transportation board member Don Grantham, who represents the Augusta area, said he will lobby for the train to pass through Augusta, though he has doubts the rail line will come to fruition.

“With funding and the amount of money available right now, that’s something that’s going to be on the back burner,” he said.

Improving the road system is a greater need, said Grantham, who has not studied the rail proposal.

The Atlanta-to-Charlotte rail study costs $4.8 million, with 80 percent funded by the Federal Railroad Ad­min­istration and the rest covered by the Georgia DOT.

The corridor is part of the rail agency’s initiative to build a nationwide high-speed rail network. A route from Washington, D.C., to Charlotte is being developed.

Goldberg said high-speed rail is a safe and energy-efficient method for improving regional connectivity, reducing travel time between cities and promoting economic development.

2 AUGUSTA OPTIONS

Six proposed routes linking Atlanta to Charlotte, N.C.:

• CSX and Norfolk Southern rails via Augusta and Columbia

• CSX and Norfolk Southern rails via Athens, Ga., and Rock Hill, S.C.

• Norfolk Southern via Gainesville, Ga.; Greenville, S.C.; and Spartanburg, S.C.

• Interstates 20 and 77 corridor via Augusta and Columbia

• Interstate 85 corridor via Anderson, S.C., and Greenville

• New rails via Anderson and Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport

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deestafford
27662
Points
deestafford 06/03/13 - 04:45 pm
8
11
What a total waste of money!

High speed rail is a joke. Nowhere in the US does it pay for itself. It has to be subsidized by the feds in order to get any done. Who in the world thinks people want to ride to the center of Atlanta and then take a cab or some other mode to somewhere and then reverse things when time to return. Americans are not like the rest of the world when it comes to being lemmings to some type of mass transportation. We like the freedom and flexibility the automobile gives us.

GnipGnop
12234
Points
GnipGnop 06/03/13 - 05:06 pm
11
2
Is it for.....

coming to Augusta or leaving Augusta?

Riverman1
83972
Points
Riverman1 06/03/13 - 05:12 pm
8
4
By the time this thing is

By the time this thing is built, vehicles that fly using the magnetic grids or some esoteric mechanism will be in use. But if we are going to seriously plan for this thing, I suggest the I-20 route with the terminal up in Columbia County.

itsanotherday1
43202
Points
itsanotherday1 06/03/13 - 05:30 pm
12
1
"Who in the world thinks

"Who in the world thinks people want to ride to the center of Atlanta and then take a cab or some other mode to somewhere and then reverse things when time to return. "

At the price of gasoline, a lot of people would; that and the distaste for driving in Atlanta traffic.

That "lot of people" though won't be near enough to make it feasible. Even if you had 100 people/day doing the trip, the train would still be mostly empty.

I wonder if it would make stops in any of the outlying counties for work commuters?

Fiat_Lux
15424
Points
Fiat_Lux 06/03/13 - 05:50 pm
12
0
If it made Augusta only an hour from Atlanta or Charlotte,

and only 20 minutes to Columbia, there might be a lot more than 100 riders per day.

Augusta isn't the economic boom town some would like to believe it is, especially for management and jobs that pay more than $60K per year outside the medical profession. People are moving to find jobs that pay enough to support a family in a decent neighborhood.

Having a day job you could get to without driving and in a reasonable amount of time would be fantastic, IMO. Nevertheless, I doubt it will ever happen, especially through Augusta.

augusta817
75
Points
augusta817 06/03/13 - 06:07 pm
9
4
High Speed Rail

I thought I would never see an Apple store in town, so this may happen. They will be selling Windows there and the sun will rise over Martinez before a train passes through and stops. The trains will probably have to slow down, so we can watch them crawl through downtown anyway.

faithson
5158
Points
faithson 06/03/13 - 06:25 pm
8
9
gotta love it

when the nasayers are the same people over and over again, no exuberance for what the future holds for our children, only caught in their own selfrighteous critisizims of how 'bad' it is with no ideas just platitudes ( the quality or state of being dull or insipid: a banal, trite, or stale remark.) High speed from ATL through AUG and Columbia to Charlotte when you consider a 60 mile radius to the rail seems the best route for the most consumers.

Dixieman
14943
Points
Dixieman 06/04/13 - 04:40 am
9
7
Hahahahahahahahaha!

If you support this big-government, expensive, useless idea, go watch the Springfield Monorail episode of The Simpsons.

And check out the posts below, many of which state the reasons why it will never work (and Homer will have to find another job).

faithson
5158
Points
faithson 06/03/13 - 07:13 pm
5
10
ever wonder...

why the conservatives completely miss why the next generation has NO affinity for them... and after 3 voting cycles they generally stay with the lady that brought them to the dance. You want to be a party to the titanic or do you want to be a party to ideas that can and will make our children's children even better off with MORE decisions. reminds me of my father, who went to his grave, for the most part alone because his Archie Bunker mentality kept his children and grandchildren at bay.

GnipGnop
12234
Points
GnipGnop 06/03/13 - 07:15 pm
6
4
No actually we aren't just platitudes...

we are just brimming with verisimilitudes (the appearance or semblance of truth; likelihood; probability)

Riverman1
83972
Points
Riverman1 06/03/13 - 07:33 pm
7
6
Why High Speed Rail Won't Work

Emotions aside, high speed rail in America is simply a poorly thought out proposal. Let's not fall for the hype. We don't have the large urban downtown areas with big cities close together with the exception of the Northeast corridor. Our downtown populations are relatively small with large surrounding metro areas. So there are few destinations in the downtown areas as there are in Europe. Arrive at a downtown destination and you still have a long way to go. The U.S. is too large geographically, with wealthy people not used to being jammed in trains.

GnipGnop
12234
Points
GnipGnop 06/03/13 - 07:49 pm
7
5
I might add River....

High speed trains work in areas where the average families don't have 2 vehicles sitting in their driveway. Also, the next generation doesn't get that everything is not given to you. The government is not a business that makes anything. It is only supported by those who wish to work for what they have. Once that sinks in and they will realize that it is not an endless bank account to use for frivolous things that are not needed.

TrukinRanger
1748
Points
TrukinRanger 06/03/13 - 08:00 pm
0
0
Wow.. what a lot of ignorant
Unpublished

Wow.. what a lot of ignorant people. High Speed Rail is something way overdue. One poster asked who would want to make the trek to downtown Atlanta to get on a high speed train and then reverse the trip coming home. That would probably be the same people that get on the Amtrak train that goes through downtown Atlanta. As for the low ridership? With an expanded network, destinations, options more people would ride- especially if it keeps them from having to sit in Atlanta or Charlotte traffic.

oldredneckman96
5095
Points
oldredneckman96 06/03/13 - 08:36 pm
8
2
Trains, Planes and Buses
Unpublished

Ok, the movie is Planes, Trains and Automobiles, but that does not work here for this reason: Automobiles. If you connect Trains to Planes and Busses it works. It works in Europe and Asia and it would work here if the Plane station and the Train station and the Bus station were not filled with drug addicts and bums and were connected to each other. A cab ride is not a connection. You need to have a safe ride all the way from point A to point B. Give the man your bags at A, collect them at B. In Atlanta the train could connect to the MARTA system witch connects to everything else in the city, you would be a fool to get off a train on Reynolds downtown.

nocnoc
42626
Points
nocnoc 06/03/13 - 08:43 pm
7
4
I believe it when

___________.

Sorry can't even come up with an extreme enough IF.

Birmingham, Atlanta, Charlotte, Columbia yes

But Augusta WHY?

OtherSideOfTheMoon
172
Points
OtherSideOfTheMoon 06/03/13 - 09:21 pm
11
2
Did y'all catch in the above

Did y'all catch in the above article that our representative to the state transportation board, Don Grantham, is a naysayer and admits he hasn't even read the rail proposal? Now that's grasping the future with enthusiasm, isn't it? Pretty pathetic actually.

countyman
20120
Points
countyman 06/03/13 - 10:03 pm
2
11
Augusta is on the rise!!!!

This will happen sooner or later, and Augusta needs to jump on the bandwagon now. Augusta was ranked 2nd in the nation for high tech job growth(2006-2011), and we should also be progressive in term of transportation.. Expanding lanes, new roads, etc will never solve the traffic problem.. The answer is too add rail and buses into the mix.. The city doesn't need the FEDS(could receive a grant though) to construct a modern streetcar system between the CBD/Medical District/Paine College with the possibility of running up to the Summerville GRU Campus. The Augusta Greenway could be put into the equation to make sure you had people walking, biking, LSV vehicles, etc in order to attract more private investment nearby.
http://augustagreenway.org/wordpress/

Augusta needs to go ahead, and build the multimodal facility downtown. The facility can hold the buses, streetcar, police precinct, etc..

There's not much difference between the cities of Augusta and Columbia. The metro Columbia area is a little bigger, but the metro population of Augusta is close to 600k. The population of the CSRA is over 700,000 people in 2013.

The city of Augusta will easily pass many peer cities with all of the visionary ideas.. The Mills/Cultural campus, Laney Walker/Bethlehem, Urban Veranda, Butler Creek Trailhead Park/Butler Creek Greenway, Augusta Regional Industrial Park, Augusta Greenway, etc...

bigj706
1180
Points
bigj706 06/03/13 - 10:06 pm
6
1
I myself really hope the

I myself really hope the train comes through Augusta

GnipGnop
12234
Points
GnipGnop 06/03/13 - 10:11 pm
7
4
A rail service serving the city

and a high speed rail are 2 different animals...just for the record though...the bus system loses money...how much money do you think the rail system will make? There is not a need for a rail service downtown. It would wind up being a burden instead of an asset.

countyman
20120
Points
countyman 06/03/13 - 11:51 pm
2
6
Public transportation

High speed rail is already open in many states across the US, and expanding right now in some of them.

The idea of public transportation is too attract private investment, and not make money.. Both ADP($40 million/1,000 jobs in West Augusta), and Starbucks($172 million/140 jobs in South Augusta) have said we need to improve our current system.

Around 3,000 people use the bus daily, and the system is not efficient. The CBD, Medical District, Augusta Exchange, Fort Gordon, and maybe the industry on Hwy 56/Mike Padgett need to be connected. The system must become 24 hr, or at least stop at 2am-3am...

The two rail systems can easily use the same new facility downtown.. The people making day trips from Atlanta, Columbia, or Charlotte need to be close to multiple amenities within walking distance.. Even the people on business trips need to be able to walk from the hotels to different amenities...

The best spot for a terminal outside of the CBD, is the Augusta Exchange.. Multiple restaurants, hotels, movie theater, retail, nightlife, etc in one area. The Village at Riverwatch in West Augusta could shake things up in the future.

deestafford
27662
Points
deestafford 06/04/13 - 12:14 am
6
4
There is no passenger rail system in the US which breaks even

much less makes money. If it can't make money it shouldn't be done. One cannot compare Europe and/or Asia with the US. The populations there do not have the options that we have here and our country is much bigger than those countries and for the most part our road network is much better. Granted, the German autobahn is nice but it does not cover all of Europe.
As far as the price of gasoline goes, it will drop when we get a Republican president and Congress who opens up all our energy resources rather than feeling guilty that we have some and others don't. We can get 100% self sufficient on energy if we would just explore what we have...and we can still protect the environment.

OtherSideOfTheMoon
172
Points
OtherSideOfTheMoon 06/04/13 - 02:13 am
4
0
Countyman, what is this "CBD"

Countyman, what is this "CBD" that you constantly refer to?

Dixieman
14943
Points
Dixieman 06/04/13 - 04:39 am
6
4
CBD=

Central Business District.

My opposition to this high speed rail idea is NOT a slam on Augusta. It just does not work anywhere in America for reasons others have so cogently described here. It is just another black hole for taxpayers to be forced to shovel money into, and I've had it with grandiose politicians' ideas like this.

Riverman1
83972
Points
Riverman1 06/04/13 - 05:14 am
4
4
U.S. is Not Suited for High Speed Rail

Again, the U.S. is simply not suited for high speed rail. These trains with high speeds work in Europe due to cities with large downtown populations. In other words, you take a high speed train to the city and you are where you need to be. In this country, you may still need to go 40 miles to reach where you work. To take general funding tax money and money away from highways is ludicrous. It will never make money and will be a constant drain on our finances.

Let's understand what we are talking about. This country has the northeast corridor trains that run at about 110 miles per hour with an average speed of 70-80 mph on existing shared tracks, but that's not considered high speed rail by European standards. No where in the U.S. does high speed rail exist.

Bodhisattva
6210
Points
Bodhisattva 06/04/13 - 05:46 am
4
8
Do we have any highway

Do we have any highway systems in the area that pay for themselves?

nocnoc
42626
Points
nocnoc 06/04/13 - 08:01 am
3
1
WHY BUILD IT

WHY BUILD IT DOWNTOWN???
"Augusta needs to go ahead, and build the multimodal facility downtown. The facility can hold the buses, streetcar, police precinct, etc.."

If we are going to waste Taxpayer $$$$$$$$
Why not centrally locate it to serve the public population density areas? The Downtown Mafia has had its turns, how about remembering there is a South Side Mafia also for once?

Downtown IS NOT centrally located, does not have the population density, and the Taxpayers are likely fed up with

Yet Another Downtown Revitalization Attempt.(YARDA) support such a white elephant with tight taxpayer $$$$$$.

BESIDES

If there was to be a profit in High Speed rail Passenger transport
does any one thing CSX or etc, etc, would pass up the opportunity?

No they will make their killing leasing rail lines space around their freight trains back the Taxpayers via a Federal / State handling fee.

CobaltGeorge
158884
Points
CobaltGeorge 06/04/13 - 07:58 am
4
1
Slight Change to Title


"High-speed rail linking Atlanta and Charlotte could pass through Augusta but has no need to stop"

allhans
23645
Points
allhans 06/04/13 - 09:10 am
3
0
If there is to be one, then

If there is to be one, then by all means bring it our way.

I think it would be lovely!

Riverman1
83972
Points
Riverman1 06/04/13 - 09:25 am
4
2
Highways pay for themselves

Highways pay for themselves via the gasoline tax that those who drive on the highways pay. Will the few riders on the HS train pay enough of a tax to pay for this?

Little Lamb
46022
Points
Little Lamb 06/04/13 - 09:31 am
2
0
Routes

I have not yet taken the time to read the comments, so if someone else has made this observation, my apologies:

It seems wrong to put high-speed rail alongside the interstate routes. You already have high-speed transportation there. Instead, put the high-speed rail where the interstate highways don't go! If you want to go from Atlanta to Charlotte on a train, run the tracks pretty much straight across the countryside and not via Augusta or Columbia. Likewise, run a high-speed rail from Athens through Augusta to Savannah. How about a high-speed rail from Augusta through Macon, through Albany and on to Panama City?

Stay away from interstate corridors and you come up with some new and useful routes. What would be some of your favorites? How about Augusta through Rome and up to Chattanooga (bypassing Atlanta, of course)?

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