Douglas on the Trains

While Decaturguy is throwing invective toward Senator Douglas, I thought I’d actually let the man speak for himself and, based on his points, I must say I agree that the rail plan, as presented, is poorly conceived. I still favor rail solutions, but the present one is flawed.

In the original post on the trains, Senator Douglas writes as follows:

OK, here are the reasons I oppose the commuter rail for Henry County:

1. The tax payers will be upgrading the rail bed for Norfolk Southern which means that their freight trains will have free access 20 hours a day to run faster, thanks to working Georgians.

2. Yes, 20 hours a day…..the commuter trains will only run two hours in the am and two hours in the pm. If you need to get home at another time, too bad.

3. The round trip ticket will be around $12. enough said there.

4. The train would only cross a small portion of Henry County at Hampton but taxpayers county wide would be told to help pay for it.

The other eight points are below the fold.

Technorati Tags: commuter rail, mass transit

5. The new Mayor and City Council in Hampton were elected on anti commuter rail platforms. A majority of the county commission also opposes the rail line.

6. No commuter rail system in the world, outside of Japan, is self sufficient. That means taxpayers would be paying for it forever. Meanwhile, Norlfolk Southern’s freight business would be bustling at taxpayer expense.

7. NS would be paid a large sum of money to upgrade the rail bed but now they dont want to pay taxes to the federal government on this gift from those same taxpayers.

8. No program has ever been successful getting people around Atlanta out of their cars. Neither will this be successful in that area.

9. Visit the MARTA Five Points station after dark some time when you are in Atlanta. Tell me whats wrong with that picture.

10. The trains will only go to the Intermodal Station as they come into Atlanta, then its busses or taxis after that, very inconvenient and time consuming.

11. If there was a market for passenger rail or commuter rail, dont you think NS or CSX would already be doing it?

12. Finally, its easy to spend taxpayer dollars on “pie in the sky


  1. SevenHillsDem says:

    I’m not really sure of the numbers here, but wouldn’t it make more sense to have communter rail from Athens to Atlanta.

    This shouldn’t be priority #1, but a communter rail line going to Athens has the benefit of connecting college students with many of their homes in Atlanta, connecting the major research institutions of the state, as well as providing some traffic relief while the massive reconstruction project is going on at the I85/Hwy. 316 junction.

  2. StevePerkins says:

    Number one: The Athens proposal doesn’t “connect students with their homes in Atlanta”, because there is no support in the proposal for reverse commuters. There is only one track… the trains would run from Athens to Atlanta for 2 hours in the mornings, and from Atlanta to Athens for 2 hours in the evenings. If you live near the city and want to use a train for school or football games, you’re S.O.L.

    Number two: The most wildly optimistic (i.e. BS) projections from the rail proponents themselves predict that about 5-10% of commuters along the line’s path would switch to rail, tops. Even in the best-case scenerio, any “relief” here is a symbolic drop in the bucket. Not to mention the fact that if it were to go through, it probably wouldn’t go online until after the 316 reconstruction was finished anyway.

  3. Tommy_a2b says:

    Hey, why don’t we use Eminent Domain to take the track. Then run commuter rail all day from 5:30 am to 7 pm. Then allow Norfolk Southern to rent the line at night. Now that would be government in action.

  4. DougieFresh says:

    I am not so certain that NS would be against that, because ED takings do require compensation, and NS lawyers are likely highly paid and able to force top dollar.

  5. bird says:

    Obviously this is just a start. The DOT studies back this, and this would part of a more extensive commuter rail around metro Atlanta in the future.

    The price might be high, but would there be some sort of weekly/monthly or yearly plan? That would make sense.

  6. ToddRehm says:

    State’s can’t use eminent domain against railroads. There is a broad federal pre-emption statute that prevents states from nearly any regulations on railroads. Part of what is pre-empted is eminent domain.

    Ironically, in the 19th and 20th centuries, many states allowed railroads themselves to exercise eminent domain.

  7. hankreardan says:

    The one reason clayton is first is that they are more pro rail than most counties.This is the county that had the least Libertarian vote north of Macon.Clayton likes Government answers.

  8. Bull Moose says:

    I support the concept and initiative to move toward transit. It only makes sense, with the Greater Atlanta’s growth pattern, to have a high speed rail system bringing in folks from the suburbs and exurbs into the urban center.

    I would be extremely dissapointed if our elected politicians were not pursing this initiative.

    Don’t castigate the idea, work to fine tune its implementation.

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