State DOT will include Columbus in passenger rail feasibility study

mowen@ledger-enquirer.comJanuary 4, 2012 

On the eve of the first meeting of her commission on passenger rail travel, Mayor Teresa Tomlinson got some good news in the form of an e-mail from Atlanta, she revealed during the Wednesday meeting.

Department of Transportation board member Sam Welborn wrote to inform the mayor that the DOT will include a feasibility study of passenger rail between Atlanta and Columbus into the DOT’s plan and finance a study with state money. That could help reduce the cost of conducting the local study and could reduce its workload, too.

“That is a huge shift from where we were a couple of months ago,” she said, but added a caveat. “Of course, I don’t want you to be too enthusiastic about that. There are a lot of details to be worked out.”

Among those details will be how extensive the state study will look into the Columbus concept specifically, and how the local commission’s study might “dovetail” with the state study.

The commission’s first meeting included two long-distance live presentations via the Internet from Geoffrey Anderson, president and CEO of Smart Growth America, and former Charlotte, N.C. Mayor Pat McCrory, who spearheaded passenger rail service in that part of the state.

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