4/17: MultiModal Passenger Terminal

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

After years of speculation, the proposed MultiModal Passenger Terminal downtown, slated for the corroded canyon known as the “Gulch,” finally has some life.

Major developers are drawing up a master plan and laying the groundwork for cooperation with the freight rail companies that use existing tracks.

But advocates warn that failure to pass the July 31 referendum on a regional transportation sales tax — even though the terminal is not on the project list — could damage its chances for federal funds.

22 comments Add your comment


April 17th, 2012
2:52 pm

@MT: Awesome commentary, simply awesome!!

@Ray: I don’t know why you would say most people don’t feel comfortable downtown, because that’s where Philips Arena, the Dome, and the Streetcar are. This is 2012, not 1988.

@Charlie: You are so right! I totally agree.

I would strongly suggest to those who are so against mass transit solutions to realize that $3.50+/gallon gas is the NORM from here on out. Transit is cheaper for us ALL in the long run. Imagine not having to even own a car… no insurance, no ad valorem, no gas, no car payments, cleaner environment, more family time. Transit is really the way to go.


April 17th, 2012
1:43 pm

Sounds like a lot of short-sighted and narrow-minded views. Have y’all ever been anywhere over in Europe and visited a train station there?

That’s the idea of a multi-modal hub: having a main station that ties together the inter-city/commuter trains with the city transit network (MARTA/light rail/trolleys). Something with that level of people transitioning/moving in and out naturally lends itself to high density development, which is why that area of town, in addition to the pre-existing rail lines, makes complete sense.

If you want to watch Atlanta wither on the vine and continue to be choked off by traffic as companies leave the city for greener pastures, be my guest and vote against T-Splost.

The ballot doesn’t have everyone’s desired transit project; true. But the whole idea with this is to address some basic projects, get the discussion going on a near 20 year delay on ANY progress w MARTA, and line ourselves up for Federal transit dollars. Maybe if Atlanta transit makes progress, it’ll be the last major US city to get ZERO state funding for its public transit network.


April 17th, 2012
12:36 pm

The downtown multi modal hub would have made since 40 years ago when downtown was the center of both commerce and retail. People would come in from all parts of Georgia to shop at Richs, catch a movie at the Loews Grand, Rialto, or foxand the five points area had headquarters for every bank.

Fast forward to now and most people do not feel comfortable downtown even in the day time and the business center has shifted to the north side of 285 and points northward. None of their planning reflects this. Traffic from I-20 to GA 400 is a nightmare every rush hour. Marta should have had either a rail line or dedicated bus lanes along the northern 285 northern arc years ago. Instead the are concentrating on downtown. We on the Southside are strongly opposed to the T-Splost referendum as well as we in South Dekalb will see no benefit. The referendum seems to fund deferred maintenance items in the city and MARTA. We are not going to pay two cents (one cent for MARTA) in transportation taxes and see no improvements although some 285 exit ramps south of I-20 back up almost daily onto the travel lanes of 285.

Charlie Hooper

April 17th, 2012
12:10 pm

We can only take so much of valuable, expensive land off the tax digest for more highway lanes. Los Angeles tried to rely on just more highways before they realized that highways Plus rail transportaion
is essential to avoid completely choking on its own traffic, as is Atlanta. Older cities worldwide have
come to this same conclusion.


April 17th, 2012
12:06 pm

Where they are putting this station is right next to the Georgia Dome. You can’t get there using a car or via MARTA. It is not close to the interstate. It is going to be in a lousy section of downtown.
Getting to Philips Arena Georgia Dome CNN Center is a true hassle if you live on the north side. MARTA is totally incompent and poorly run. The traffic lights in the area are not timed or synced.
The Atlanta police are dismal at traffic management & control.

It is only being put there because of the railroad tracks. It is not going to generate many jobs. The Georgia Dome WCC and Philips Arena have done little to spur redevelopment of the area outside of Centennial Olympic Park. Now the Falcons want to move to another stadium 2 blocks away from the dome. How inconvenient is that going to be.

Finally, who owns the land? Use to be owned by Norfolk Southern Railroad. This smells of a big payoff to a politician or their friend(s).

The true multi modal hub is the airport. Build it there and link, air, car, rail, bus, & Marta. And yes, there are railroad tracks there as well. If fact, if possible use the old ford motor plant site.

Commuter rail has its place, but not this place. Street Cars to nowhere. A beltline that helps very few in Fulton County. Not replacing the I-285 / Ga 400 interchange for another 20 years. The funds raised by TSPLOT is just a political slush fund for cronies. The prioritized projects reak with favoritism and not common sense.


VOTE NO on T-SPLOT this summer!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


April 17th, 2012
11:54 am

Hey George, been to Europe lately? Planes there are cheaper – much cheaper – and get you there twice as fast.

We had rail – it worked great for 80 years in this country, but it’s a waste of time and energy now. The infrastructure costs would be unsupportable, and the benefits negligible.

Let’s build better cars and planes…


April 17th, 2012
11:38 am

Just like the scourge called the beltline, this is useless waste of tax money on a socialist agenda project!!


April 17th, 2012
11:28 am

Its high time that Atlanta and Georgia join with other civilized places in Europe, Asia and other cities in the US that we compete with and commit to light and heavy rail as transportation options. Future generations will thank us very much. Rail works very well where it is well established. Our regional economy depends on this and we are currently on our way to losing out to other metropolitan areas, even in the Sun Belt.


April 17th, 2012
11:01 am

Let’s see, didn’t Atlanta have a multimodal passenger hub downtown as recently as 60 years ago? Two railroad stations, interconnected bus and trolley service on Atlanta Transit, and buses directly to the airport.

And this is a solution to our future transportation issues?

Not hardly. I’m 60, and I remember boarding on a train in Union City going to LaGrange. You could take a train to Augusta, Chattanooga, connect in Atlanta and go to Macon.

Sounds exotic and very forward thinking, right?

After generations of hauling Americans from coast to coast, passenger trains disappeared for a reason: they were inefficient, expensive, and did not serve the needs of the public.

Which means, of course that a return to the past with a downtown multimodal hub is a waste of time, taxpayer money, and diverts public attention from real solutions to transportation issues, such as low emission, natural gas powered cars and trucks, stronger work at home policies from employers, and yes, a new road or two.

Sadly, liberals won’t look at those types of alternatives. They want to reduce individual freedom, cram everyone onto a train, and tell each of us precisely when we can move about.

Two inventions helped make this nation great: the automobile and the airplane. Let’s build a better car and take advantage of the progress made in commercial aviation, which is far, far safer and more efficient that any train in the world.

All of which completely negates any need for an antiquated multimodal terminal.

Hillbilly D

April 17th, 2012
10:13 am

But advocates warn that failure to pass the July 31 referendum on a regional transportation sales tax — even though the terminal is not on the project list — could damage its chances for federal funds.

Sounds like a deflection because they’re afraid it isn’t going to pass, to me.