Mayor: Link Atlanta, Savannah with train

By WALTER C. JONES
Morris News Service
HAPEVILLE, Ga. — A high-speed train needs to link Savannah and Atlanta, the mayor of Atlanta said Tuesday.
Mayor Kasim Reed compared the potential economic impact to action by one of his predecessors that led to creation of the state’s largest economic engine, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.
“Who would have thought, when the leaders back then made the decision around Hartsfield-Jackson, that we would sit here, hosting 92 million passengers a year?” Reed said.
His comments came after a ceremony celebrating the groundbreaking of Porsche’s North American headquarters next to the massive airport, the world’s busiest.
Reed acknowledges it’s too soon to draft a timetable for the rail link, saying the first step is to begin a public conversation. With federal funds available from states that changed their minds about their own rail projects, Georgia could move to the head of the line, he said.
The deepening of the ship’s channel in the Savannah River to accommodate larger freighters will catapult the state’s economy to a new level, he predicted. And he sees advantages for both Atlanta and Georgia as a whole if various parts of the state capitalize on it.

“Georgia’s going to have to have a number of dynamic economies, not just in the city of Atlanta but throughout the state. Savannah has all of the bones for it. It has a great personality. It has its own character,” he said. “People don’t have any idea what we’re at the beginning of with the deepening of the port.”

Gov. Nathan Deal was at the same event but expressed less urgency about the rail proposal.

“In the short term, the things that I’m most focused on is dealing with the congestion here in Atlanta,” he said.

He is talking with the Department of Transportation about adding lanes to Atlanta highways over the next few years to ease automotive traffic snarls.

If cars are the immediate concern, trucks are the long-range focus.

“A little more long term, now that we have good news on the port and are moving forward with that deepening project, we have to give serious consideration to what we’re going to do with that increased truck traffic,” Deal added.

He is considering special, truck-only lanes and alternative routes away from the high-volume car corridors.

But he isn’t dismissing Reed or his ideas.

“The reason he does this is because he recognizes it’s not only good for the state but also for the city of Atlanta,” Deal said.

The two say they’re friends although Deal is a Republican and Reed is a Democrat. They have often gone to Washington together to lobby for state issues, especially federal funding of the river deepening.



More Local

Program aims to assist military chaplains

Entering into a combat zone is a life-changing experience and can have long-reaching effects that many in the civilian world remain unaware ... Read More


Newnan Walmart not part of statewide bomb threats

Bomb threats were called into Walmart stores around Georgia on Tuesday and Wednesday, but the Newnan Walmart was not one of them. Some of th ... Read More


Golden K give art in memory of Harold Barron

White Oak Golden K has donated funds for a piece of public art in memory of longtime Kiwanian Harold Barron. Malcolm Jackson, past president ... Read More


Coweta edges state in Career Readiness testing

Despite a statewide decrease in overall scores, the Coweta County School System outscored the state of Georgia in the College and Career Rea ... Read More


Home Safe

Alarm over missing child a simple mixup

County and city authorities were happy to locate a 5-year-old child safe and sound after she was reported missing on Wednesday. All four pub ... Read More

Luminaria fundraiser

Neighborhood rallies for Coweta Samaritan Clinic

More than 100 residents in one Newnan neighborhood are planning to participate in their first annual luminaria fundraiser. On Tuesday at 6:3 ... Read More