Georgia Association of Railroad Passengers (GARP), newsletter for November 2011:
As mentioned last month, the Atlanta Regional Transportation Roundtable deliberated over the summer to come up with a wish list of transit projects around the Atlanta area. They wrapped up their work in October. The list will go before voters in next year's sales tax referendum. If it is approved a 1% sales tax will be enacted for 10 years to raise $6.1 billion to be earmarked for transit projects. Highlights of the projects that made the list are a streetcar system across downtown Atlanta, and a rail transit line between the existing Lindbergh station and Emery University. The Roundtable did not approve any projects outside of MARTA's current service area, but studies will be done on LRT lines to Cobb and Gwinnett Counties, and the potential commuter rail line to Griffin.
The current Amtrak station in Atlanta is in even more trouble. The Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation put the station on its latest "Places in Peril" list. To their credit, Amtrak officials feel a sense of urgency to replace the facility. Funding has yet to be identified for a new station, though many options are still being discussed.
The only change on the recent Amtrak Timetable update that affects Georgia is the slightly earlier schedule of the northbound Crescent.
The station situation and resulting customer satisfaction on the Crescent should be of concern as Megabus is now operating in Georgia. There is suddenly a fare war as Megabus has started competing Greyhound and smaller carriers.
MARTA will start construction in late 2012 to expand its Buckhead station, primarily to improve access to the shopping district around it.