Georgia House Passes Brain Train Resolution
(ATLANTA) The Georgia House passed HR 1631 in support of commuter rail service in the Athens - Atlanta - Macon corridor yesterday by a margin of 143 to 12. This resolution states "that the members of the Georgia Transportation Board are urged to help ensure that the existing plans for the Macon to Atlanta to Athens commuter rail lines are implemented with urgency."
HR 1631 was adopted based on all of the work that has been done to date and the proximity of this particular project to implementation. Georgians are incredibly close to being provided with permanent congestion relief, a safe, reliable alternative to commuting, and a better quality of life for commuters in both corridors. It also provides a model for implementation in other commuter corridors as defined by GDOT and the Transit Planning Board (TPB).
Representatives John Heard (R- Lawrenceville), Clay Cox (R-Lilburn), Billy Mitchell (D- Stone Mountain), Tom Rice (R- Norcross), and others sponsored HR 1631.
HR 1631 compliments SR 263, which was unanimously adopted by the state senate in March of 2007, which urged Congress "to provide funding for the engineering, construction, land acquisition, and other necessary costs for commuter rail connecting Athens to Atlanta."
With the combination of these resolutions, recent polling and other recent actions by the GDOT Board, staff and others, there appears to be more traction than ever to implement commuter rail in Georgia. Supporters of the commuter rail line -- affectionately called the Brain Train because of the high concentration of colleges, universities, and research centers in close proximity to the line -- say the state's support sends a clear message to the DOT that this project should be a priority and would help alleviate Georgia's traffic woes, provide a safe alternative to automobile travel, improve air quality and contribute to positive economic development and sustainable land-use practices.
Additional Georgia Brain Train/Commuter Rail Facts:
- According to federal studies, commuter rail is 25 times safer than automobiles.
- AAA estimates the cost of operating an automobile on a one-way trip between Athens and Atlanta (70 miles x 52.2 cents per mile) at $36.54. The cost of a one-way ticket on the Brain Train is estimated between $8.30 and $10.40.
- A 1999 Texas case study shows $1 billion in private investment within five years of the opening of 20 miles of new rail in Dallas.
- Regional comparables - the Virginia Railway Express and South Florida's Tri-Rail operate on rights-of-way owned by private railroads and have far exceeded original ridership expectations.
- For every one percent of transportation shifted from the automobile to public transit, regional income increases by $2.9 million and creates 226 jobs (Miller, Robinson & Lahr, 1999).
- Commuter rail service in the Athens-Atlanta-Macon corridor further removes more than 5.4 million annual automobile trips, and connects six commercial airports and more than a dozen of the state's great institutions of research and higher learning.
Source: Press Release by Paul D. Snyder of A. Brown-Olmstead Associates