EDITORIAL: Someone has to provide the vision

August 19, 2015

The Telegraph, of Macon, Georgia:

God bless him, Macon Mayor Robert Reichert doesn’t mind going up against extremely long odds. There have been dreams of Macon to Atlanta passenger rail line service since the last Nancy Hanks II pulled away from the Terminal Station in 1971. As the new century dawned, former Mayor C. Jack Ellis was so convinced rail was on the horizon that with great fanfare, he took a group of dignitaries from Atlanta to Macon and on to Savannah using a special Amtrak train in 2001. Amtrak, at the time, was pushing a $12 billion measure through Congress for high-speed rail.

Cost has always been a huge obstacle and there have been many proposals, but not an inch of track has been laid between Macon and Atlanta. We have, though, learned the difference between passenger rail service and high-speed passenger service. The two existing rail lines between the two cities, both owned by Norfolk Southern, would take a great deal of work to be able to handle even moderate-speed service, not to mention high-speed service, which generally begins at 90 mph and up. Aside from speed, both rail lines are increasingly busy with freight — and with the deepening of the Port of Savannah, rail freight traffic will only increase.


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