2nd Airport talk pops up again.

When I got married, we moved into a condo in Lawrenceville not far from Briscoe Field. Not long after we moved in the idea of turning Briscoe Field into a second Atlanta airport was floated out. IIRC, about 3000 people showed up at the Gwinnett Justice and Administration building to oppose the idea, and that trial balloon fell quickly to the ground.

The idea of a second Atlanta airport did not die and has come roaring back with $1 million behind it:

The top U.S. transportation official said Tuesday that metro Atlanta should consider a second airport, and she put up $1 million for the study.

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Mary E. Peters, who traveled Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport to announce the grant, said that by 2025 airports in Atlanta, Chicago, Las Vegas and San Diego could be overwhelmed by passenger demand.

“Now is the time for Atlanta to consider having multiple commercial airports,” Peters said.

The money is a preliminary step, but airport General Manager Ben DeCosta agreed the time was right for the metro area to begin seriously looking at a second airport to supplement Hartsfield-Jackson, the world’s busiest with about 85 million passengers per year passing through its gates.

I think building another airport will be very difficult to accomplish. Where are you going to put it? Why not just beef up Macon’s airport?

19 comments

  1. Doug Deal says:

    Buzz,

    As I was reading this, I was thinking about the same thing, beefing up the Macon airport.

    However, the one problem with that is that would place 2 airports south of Atlanta. I think Atlanta would be better served with a norther airport. That would cut down on airport travel times for people on the north side of town.

    Putting one in Macon, does help people south of Jackson, but there are a whole lot more people Between Atlanta and Tennessee.

  2. kevpriest says:

    Agreed, if there’s going to be a second Atlanta airport it needs to be to the north. I don’t have fact at hand, but I’m pretty sure a major portion of the local traffic headed to ATL is coming from a line north of I-20. That doesn’t answer the question as to whether or not we need one, or where you’d put it if we do. In a dream world it would also be MARTA accessible, allowing a train ride for connecting flights between the airports.

  3. TM2000 says:

    California is already considering high speed rail and Denver turned it’s old airport into a mixed use development. A new airport would mean more pollution and Paulding Forest is greatly enjoyed by Paulding residents. http://www.preservepaulding.org No localities are going to want this!
    The state should focus more on developing it’s rail corridors in order to take pressure off of our existing airports. Other states are already looking into this option and I am confident that the trend will catch on here eventually.
    CSX has already proposed a vast corridor with all the grade crossings closed. GA should start a grade crossing closure program and add additional tracks.

    http://www.nationalcorridors.org/df2/df05142007.shtml#CSX

    A new airport will only result in a devastating loss of green space.

  4. Jas says:

    Have you ever been to Macon’s airport?

    – too far from the population center
    – It sucks
    – Inconvenient
    – It sucks
    – Could never be sustained

  5. Holly says:

    I thought there was talk of putting the second airport in Chattanooga, wasn’t there? What came of that?

  6. Erick says:

    The Macon airport already has a 6500+ foot runway capable of handling most jet traffic. And it’s only an hour south of Hartsfield.

  7. Doug Deal says:

    Erick,

    But it will only really help those people south of Jackson. Anyone North of that would have little reason to go to Macon.

    Why not just build another airport next door to ATL, that would make about the same amount of sense. At least people to the North side can use that one.

  8. Nicki says:

    There is already another airport in Chattanooga. And I suspect a ton of people would use it if the tickets were equal in cost to those in Atlanta. It’s a great little airport with a comparatively roomy footprint.

    In fact, why not consider beefing up the existing airports, period? Macon, Augusta, and Athens all have decent airports, but it costs a great deal more to fly out of them and the schedules are either inconsistent or inconvenient and therefore no one does. But the Athens airport is as close to Gwinnett as Atlanta is, and Chattanooga is equally far from Rome.

  9. DoubleDawg3 says:

    As for the airport possibility…it does make the most sense to have the airport North of Atlanta… The City of Atlanta actually owns 10,130 Acres in the Dawson Forest Wildlife Management Area in Dawson County – that’s directly North of Atlanta on GA 400.

    However, that particular location has been discussed before as an airport and apparently there are some problems with it – i.e. lots of fog, located in a WMF (having a big airport would kind of destroy the rest of the forest/wildlife surrounding it as well)

  10. TM2000 says:

    Right double dawg. The state needs more protected green space so why sacrifice this jewel when there are plenty of other alternatives.
    Heck, I know it may sound wild, but it’s also feasible, if they had large helicopters take off from Hartsfield then they could transport people to destinations within a few hundred miles as opposed to shuttling planes. I would also support high speed rail and maglev.

  11. DavidAtlanta says:

    I think high-speed rail connecting areas of Metro Atlanta with nearby, underutilized airports would make the most sense in the long run. The rails could also be used for *gasp* mass transit by hooking into MARTA and other mass transit systems.

    Why carve out another airport when we have Athens to the east, Chattanooga to the north, Jackson-Hartsfield for Atlanta, and Macon to the south? With high-speed rail connections, the airports would be able to garner enough passenger traffic to entice more flights and more competition. Low cost carriers like Southwest that have stayed away from Hartsfield because of Delta and Airtran could start flying into the secondary airports.

    I don’t see the residents of the northern arc of Metro Atlanta allowing a commercial airport in their midst and they have the political ability to block the idea.

  12. Decaturguy says:

    Expand the airport in Chattanooga, built light rail going up I-75 connecting downtown and Hartsfield, not only connecting the airport to Atlanta but providing commuter relief. It would be a boon for Atlanta and North Georgia.

  13. Doug Deal says:

    One problem with a light rail solution as you describe Decatur is that the needs of an airport passenger are different than the needs of a commuter.

    An airport passenger does not want to stop ever 1-2 miles to pick up a load of passengers for 100 miles, so there would have to be an express option.

    A commuter will not take the light rail to his destination, so there needs to be secondary transportation to get him to where he needs to go once he is in town. Marta just doesn’t cut it.

    In Paris, the Metro is very easy to use and very convenient. But, you are pretty much guaranteed to be within 1000 feet of a station, no matter where you are in the city, and within a couple miles of a station in the periphery, so you can pretty much get anywhere you want within reasonable walking distance.

    Atlanta has no such secondary system, so the only commuters that would take the train would be people who work very close to the stops. This light rail would be a very expensive solution for a glorified airport shuttle service.

    As for a second airport, I am not sure if it is a good idea, but if it happens, it has to be in the North, or it will be a disastrous waste of money.

  14. Greg Greene says:

    And how would you convince passengers to use Macon’s airport in spite of the long drive time? Like other places w/ that situation (London, Tokyo), Georgia could lure passengers w/ a rail line to Mac– oh, wait …

    Expecting 20 reasons why not from Steve Davis in three … two … one …
    G

  15. jsm says:

    Gainesville could be a good site for connector flights with a little expansion, but no one seems to want to put the money into acquiring the necessary land.

  16. Demonbeck says:

    They could go ahead and build an “alternative lifestyles” bar there so us heteros can go to the bathroom without fear of reprisals.

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