Birmingham-Atlanta-Jacksonville rail line ‘economically feasible’

Chances are, this isn’t what people had in mind when they ask about Plan B. From the Associated Press:

A consultant’s study for Georgia transportation officials found that high-speed passenger trains connecting Atlanta with Jacksonville, Fla.; Louisville, Ky; and Birmingham, Ala.; would be economically feasible.

Morris News Service reports that consultant HNTB presented the study’s findings to Georgia’s State Transportation Board on Wednesday.

The study identified possible train stations in Griffin, Macon, Savannah and Brunswick on the route through Georgia.

Officials say the feasibility study was the first of many steps in setting the final course of the train routes and securing funding.

The routes discussed Wednesday were studied after an earlier study showed the feasibility of a route from Atlanta to Charlotte, N.C. That project is now in the stage of estimating the environmental impact of possible paths.

The original article by Walter Jones of Morris News Service can be found here.

***
Georgia Democrats headed to their national convention in Charlotte this September have named the 87-year-old Rev. Joseph Lowery as their chairman.

“Dr. Lowery has been a long-time advocate of civil rights, human rights, fairness and equality. These are all values that Georgia Democrats strive toward every day,” said DPG Chairman Mike Berlon. “His leadership in Charlotte is invaluable.”

Lowery delivered the benediction at President Barack Obama’s inauguration in 2008.

The 133-member delegation will also include former President Jimmy Carter – and all five Democratic congressmen, according to a press release.

But we’ll wait to see if John Barrow of Augusta actually shows. My AJC colleague Aaron Gould Sheinin recalls that Barrow — then from Savannah — did go to the Denver convention in ‘08.

***
The job that dare not speak its own name. From the Washington Post:

Across the country, something is missing from the campaign ads of men and women running for Congress: the word “Congress.”

Likewise, “Senate,” “senator” and “representative” are making only rare cameos in these campaign ads. The absence is especially pronounced in the case of incumbents who are asking voters to reelect them in November.

***
You can talk about polls all you want, but the most important numbers in this year’s presidential contest have to do with cash. From Karl Rove in today’s Wall Street Journal:

The Democrats’ official fundraising numbers, released on Wednesday, showed that the $95 million cash-on-hand advantage Obama and the DNC had over the Republicans at the end of April had been cut by two-thirds at the end of May to $33 million. This is in part because the Obama campaign is burning through its war chest so fast and in part because of the impressive $107 million that the Romney campaign and the RNC announced they had on hand at May’s end.

***
Yet another reason why Georgia elects its governors in off-years, offered by Bloomberg News Service:

Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign asked Florida Governor Rick Scott to tone down his statements heralding improvements in the state’s economy because they clash with the presumptive Republican nominee’s message that the nation is suffering under President Barack Obama, according to two people familiar with the matter….

What’s unfolding in Florida highlights a dilemma for the Romney campaign: how to allow Republican governors to take credit for economic improvements in their states while faulting Obama’s stewardship of the national economy. Republican governors in Ohio, Virginia, Michigan and Wisconsin also have highlighted improving economies.

The Romney camp is no doubt telling Scott that, like Nathan Deal, he, too, has two years before bragging becomes truly necessary.

***
The Huffington Post this morning is wondering whether Ron Paul supporters have settled on a way to make themselves known in Tampa:

An obscure rule change made four years ago by the Republican Party has opened the door for Paul forces to cause a major headache for Mitt Romney when he tries to nominate his choice for vice president at the party convention in August.

The Republican National Committee could change Rule 40 in the week leading up to the convention, but that would risk the appearance of jamming Romney’s nominee through, and likely cause a subsequent backlash.

***
Politico this morning takes a look at the finances of former candidates for the Republican presidential nomination:

[Newt] Gingrich’s situation is most dire: his campaign is than $4.7 million in debt with less than $736,000 cash on hand through May, new federal campaign filings show.

That Gingrich raised almost $500,000 dollars in May — he even scored $700 from the sale of a used laptop computer — wasn’t nearly enough to offset money owed to about 120 different creditors.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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78 comments Add your comment

huh?

June 21st, 2012
9:38 am

Florida and Georgia elect their governors in the same years.

findog

June 21st, 2012
9:49 am

Lies, damn lies, and statistics
Governor Romney is in CEO mode, he is asking his fellow state management fellows to couch there numbers.
Reminds me of the tech bubble and Enron where the accountants asked, “what do you want the number to be?”
If he cannot be honest about the existing economic condition how can he ask us to trust him with the economy?

Aquagirl

June 21st, 2012
10:07 am

So is the proposed rail line part of the UN’s Agenda 21, or is it part of the Reptilian Overlord conspiracy to eventually route all passengers through the Denver airport?

Remove tinfoil hats and discuss.

Mild Mannered Moderate

June 21st, 2012
10:10 am

Oh dear. On the one hand I can see the advantages of being able to take a cheap train to Florida. It would be nice for the kids but I don’t want to have to pay more taxes for it. Isn’t there something we can cut?

I don’t know about UN Agenda 21 but I don’t like my tax dollars being wasted by the UN. They don’t do anything useful.

Centrist

June 21st, 2012
10:15 am

Amtrak trains supported by federal money is NOT plan B for when the T-SPLOST is voted down. Nice try.

Not only do politicians stay away from using terms like Congress, Senator, Representative – but the liberal media seldom uses “Democrat” whenever there is a scandal with that party, but they repeatedly use “Republican” when they have scandals. Subtle bias.

No attribution where it is reported and pasted in this blog who from the Romney campaign might have asked the Florida Governor to tone down their economic improvements. Overt biased reporting, but not unexpected.

Aquagirl

June 21st, 2012
10:17 am

It would be nice for the kids but I don’t want to have to pay more taxes for it. Isn’t there something we can cut?

I’d start with airline and road subsidies.

The UN Agenda 21 was a reference to Jim’s last post. If you have negative ideas about the UN, you might consider where you’re getting your input.

hiram

June 21st, 2012
10:23 am

Danny O

June 21st, 2012
10:28 am

@ Mildly Mannered Moderate:

The UN is part of a consortium of organizations that has reduced the number of new guinea worm cases by over 95%.
The UN has nearly eradicated polio.
The UN has rid smallpox from the face of the planet.

Mild Mannered Moderate

June 21st, 2012
10:31 am

@Centrist – I dislike all the media. Fox tells the conservative side and MSNBC tells the liberal side, but the rest of the media seems to only care about viewers. It truly disgusts me. But I’m curious, what makes you call the main networks liberal? Is it because NBC is affiliated with Fox?

And the federal government should not supplement trains with my tax dollars. But I don’t want Amtrak to go though. They should just raise prices to meet the market dmeand.

@Aquagirl – My tax dollars are going to subsidize airline and roads? I don’t understand. I have negative opinins abut the Un because my tax dollars go to pay for it and it doesn’t do anything. They don’t stop wars and they are anti israel.

Mild Mannered Moderate

June 21st, 2012
10:32 am

@Danny O – I don’t believe that the UN could do that. Do you have a link to prove yourr point?

Road Scholar

June 21st, 2012
10:37 am

Aquagirl: But, but, but, their pointed heads will get sunburned…another sinister plot. The plot is sunburn. The pointed heads makes them easier to be placed in a hole in the ground.

Road Scholar

June 21st, 2012
10:39 am

MMM: If they did, would you believe it? Some on this blog question everything, and don’t like most things.

Mild Mannered Moderate

June 21st, 2012
10:42 am

@Road Scholar – I believe in questioning everything but I believe that the truth is usually somewhere between the extrems of both sides. And i don’t like most things.

You would have to be pretty convincing about the UN. They have been around for 60 years and haven’t stopped any wars. The security council is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard of. I’m glad we have a veto but evil countries like Russia and China get a veto too so it means they can’t do anything at all. The UN sucks.

n

June 21st, 2012
10:46 am

Trains use a fraction of the energy of motor vehicles to move people and freight.
But the energy companies, the road builders, the developers, and the auto industry have dictated transportation options for decades and have been successful in dismantling and crippling passenger rail.
My parents and grandparents loved riding trains. I rode the Nancy Hanks and Silver Crescent when I was a kid. Fantastic fun and very low stress.
In many places in Europe and Asia rail travel is inexpensive, clean, efficient and the trains run like clockwork.
Not in the U.S., where we are now told that it is the devil’s work to commute by train anywhere, near or far.
Agenda 21 is yet another propaganda tool to discourage and stigmatize rational behavior.
.

Aquagirl

June 21st, 2012
10:47 am

My tax dollars are going to subsidize airline and roads? I don’t understand.

I’m not sure what is unclear about the word “subsidized.” If you think roads and airlines are supported by user fees, that notion is incorrect.

I would provide examples but you’re showing early signs of JAQing off, and I don’t indulge public indecency. If you’re incapable of educating yourself, maybe you should stay home on election day.

http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/JAQing_off

Mild Mannered Moderate

June 21st, 2012
10:48 am

@n – I don’t think the UN is compontent enough to have Agenda 21 but if the liberals make fun of the conservatives about it there must be something to it. And how do you know trains only use a fraction of the energy to move cars. Trains weigh tons and tons and tons. A car is very light.

Mild Mannered Moderate

June 21st, 2012
10:50 am

@Aquagirl – My tax dollars should not go to support any private business. That is what the private market is for and it works just fine.

Rationalwiki looks like conservapedia. I’ll stick with regular wikipedia thanx.

And of course I’m not staying home on election day. Voting is my right. As long as you can prove you are a citizen you should beable to vote.

Real Athens

June 21st, 2012
10:51 am

Real Athens

June 21st, 2012
10:54 am

Everywhere that train stopped would require a station. Depending on the locale — that station would generate jobs, commerce and have a positive impact on downtown business. This model is proven successful all over the world.

Mild Mannered Moderate

June 21st, 2012
10:55 am

@Real Athens – How typical of a liberal to insult me. I know social studies thank you. I got a solid B average in school.

How rude.

findog

June 21st, 2012
10:59 am

A Plan-B would infer that this Plan-A is a plan
In ten years we will be still ten years behind; but since it will take another five years to build we are actually 15 years behind
We don’t have money for maintenance of what we have so where will the money come from for the new surfaces
Will the Governor continue to stop changes in the gas tax so he can campaign as a tax cutter
Will the 25% going to local communities go to transportation improvements or get absorbed in the general fund as they use it for maintenance instead of expansion

JUST VOTE NO!

n

June 21st, 2012
11:00 am

Aquagirl

June 21st, 2012
11:04 am

How typical of a liberal to insult me. I know social studies thank you. I got a solid B average in school.

MMM walks like a con troll, grunts like a con troll, poops like a con troll….it’s a troll. They can never quite scrub off the stench from living under a bridge.

More indigent protestations and derailing in 3…2…1….

Mild Mannered Moderate

June 21st, 2012
11:11 am

@n – Wow. OK. So trains are more energy efficient. that still doesn’t mean my tax dollars should fund any private business but I am suprised more people don’t use htem.

@Aquagirl – You make me sad for you.

the cat

June 21st, 2012
11:11 am

I am gobsmacked someone is bragging about a solid B average in school. Way to go overachiever-NOT!

findog

June 21st, 2012
11:16 am

MMM, without the treasury department there would be no means of non barter trade
Without taxes all the roads would be tolls, thus the term turn pike
Without taxes we would not have a military to project our private business interests around the world
Without taxes there would be no courts to get relief from intellectual property theft
Without taxes there would be no public schools where a B average aparently does not cover what taxes are used for…

Mild Mannered Moderate

June 21st, 2012
11:16 am

@The Cat – You make me sad for you too.

findog

June 21st, 2012
11:17 am

AG, play nice – I know he started it but…

findog

June 21st, 2012
11:19 am

neither Mild, Mannered, nor Moderate

Mild Mannered Moderate

June 21st, 2012
11:20 am

@Findog – Obviously you have not heard about bitcoin. Also banks used to print their own money.

Private corporations can maintain roads. Just look at 400. I am not opposed to my taxes being used for some roads (between my house and work for example) but to say that it takes a government is false.

Mercinaries can provide military services. And why do we need to project our private business interests around the world? Let them hire Xe.

Taxes for courts are OK I guess, but I don’t like lawyers. And I don’t want to have to serve jury duty. They will never pick me because I’m too educeted.

I support schools. Timmy is a solid B student I was, and I am very proud of him. There is nothing wrong with not getting A’s.

Mild Mannered Moderate

June 21st, 2012
11:21 am

@findog – You make me sad for you.

the cat

June 21st, 2012
11:22 am

MMM-do you know that Timmy is gay?

Aquagirl

June 21st, 2012
11:27 am

AG, play nice

Why play at all with someone who’s pretending ignorance and trolling? You want to feed the troll, go ahead.

You can also pay money for someone to lead you around like a poodle on a leash. I fully support your right to indulge in your lifestyle even if I don’t share your preferences. Gawd Bless ‘Merica.

CobbGOPer

June 21st, 2012
11:30 am

@findog:

“Without taxes all the roads would be tolls, thus the term turn pike…”

So New Jersey has much higher taxes than Georgia. And yet, when you drive through it, it seems like every major road is a toll-road. If they’re bringing in all this tax money, why are all these roads there still toll-based?

For the same reason GA 400 is still collecting tolls: the government is addicted to our money, and will never stop trying to seperate us from it. Nor will they allow a tax to lapse or vote to lower taxes unless it’s extremely politically advantageous to do so.

Mild Mannered Moderate

June 21st, 2012
11:31 am

The Cat – Timmy is 7. I doubt he cares at this time but I would have no problem if he was gay.

You make me sad for you.

Mild Mannered Moderate

June 21st, 2012
11:34 am

@CobbGOPer – Wait. 400 is run by the government? Its a toll road. That makes no sense. In Houston and Denver all the toll roads are run by a corporation.

Are you telling me every time I pay 50 cents to go home it goes to the government? That makes me sad for them.

Danny O

June 21st, 2012
11:39 am

@ Mild Mannered Moderate:

Guinea worm eradication campaign “led by The Carter Center, in close cooperation with CDC, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and the World Health Organization (WHO)”:
http://www.ajtmh.org/content/73/4/669.full

Polio eradication effort (only present in a few countries today) led by WHO:
http://www.polioeradication.org/

Smallpox eradicated by WHO:
http://whqlibdoc.who.int/smallpox/9241561106.pdf
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/26/world/26fenner.html?_r=1

You know, it’s not like this is top secret information. A google search would have turned this up for you. Also been in the news over the last few years.

Mild Mannered Moderate

June 21st, 2012
11:39 am

@Aquagirl – I don’t know why you are calling me a troll. I am sad that you feel my questions are too questioning. I don’t have anything against dogs. I have a nice dog but he is not a poodle.

the cat

June 21st, 2012
11:43 am

Just ignore the stupid. School is out, kids are bored.

Aquagirl

June 21st, 2012
11:46 am

If they’re bringing in all this tax money, why are all these roads there still toll-based?

The average driver has no idea how expensive roads are, and they don’t want to hear it either. There’s waste in our transportation infrastructure but it’s also just plain underfunded.

Roads need maintenance and expansion, you can’t just build one and sit on your initial investment. GA 400 may or may not be covered by the tolls collected. I’m not sure anyone has tried to figure that out.

Auntie Christ

June 21st, 2012
11:57 am

It appears that mmm is a pretty sad person.

Mild Mannered Moderate

June 21st, 2012
11:57 am

@The Cat – You make me sad for you.

@Aquagirl – According to Wikipedia – “The Georgia 400 toll plaza, operated by the State Road and Tollway Authority (SRTA), collects 50-cent tolls in both the northbound and southbound directions. Each direction has two open-road toll lanes, which collect tolls at highway speeds using the Georgia Peach Pass electronic tag (formerly “Cruise Card”), and seven gated toll lanes which accept cash. The toll facility handles a total of approximately 120,000 vehicles per day. About 37% of transactions are paid via Peach Pass. The same technology is also used by SunPass in Florida, TxTag in Texas, and PikePass in Oklahoma; however, none of these has an agreement to accept the tags of the others.
In March 2009, local TV news reports brought up an issue regarding tolls on the road, since SRTA reported that enough money has been collected to pay the bonds used to construct the road (though prepayment prior to 2011 is prohibited). However, despite promises that the toll would be removed once the road was paid for, the tolls continue to be collected. The road costs two million dollars per year just to maintain (plus occasional repaving), and it would cost several million more for the demolition of the toll plaza. One solution would be to simply close the toll plaza, allowing drivers to pass through without paying. If this were to occur, the state would have to raise money through other resources for new road projects, such as the reconstruction of the tollway’s northern interchange at I-285, expected to cost two billion dollars.”

@CobbGOPer – See I was right. It is run by a corporation.

Aquagirl

June 21st, 2012
12:06 pm

It appears that mmm is a pretty sad person.

I dunno, it seems like a semi-playful troll. And there is a certain amount of “poster beware” sense that everyone should use on the internet. If you’re answering the 27th dumb question it’s kind of a mutual consent relationship.

Danny O

June 21st, 2012
12:10 pm

@ Mild Mannered Moderate:

I posted some links, but the moderator has not yet published it (presumably because of the existence of links). If you don’t believe that the UN (through their global wellness arm, the World Health Organization) has been central to wiping out smallpox and nearly eradicating polio and guinea worm, just google: WHO [malady] eradication. It’s not like this is top secret information. Also been in the news over the last few years.

Aquagirl

June 21st, 2012
12:12 pm

See…..MMM has actually done some maths and cost analysis. Which means it’s surpassed the thinking level of 98% of Jawja voters.

Danny O

June 21st, 2012
12:24 pm

@ Mild Mannered Moderate:

My friend, the State Road and Tollway Authority is not a corporation. It is an arm of the state government, created by the legislature, and overseen by a board that is made up of the governor and appointees. Governor Deal is the current chair of the board. It is independent in that it is funded not by tax dollars, but by revenue from tolls and toll violations.

Mild Mannered Moderate

June 21st, 2012
12:25 pm

@Aquagirl – By jawja did you mean Georgia?

@Danny O – Wait? WHO is part of the UN?

Huh. I thought that was a sci fi show. It looks like individual militaries in each nation administrated the small pox vaccine though so you still didn’t need the UN or WHO.

Mild Mannered Moderate

June 21st, 2012
12:25 pm

@auntichrist – You make me sad for you.

Proud Voter

June 21st, 2012
12:25 pm

I hope we do get a rail system like this. Rapid transit system has worked for years in Europe. Americans who get to travel there love it. I don’t know what NYC and DC would do without their rail system. MARTA , although flawed, has certainly been more of a help than a hindrance in Atlanta. Why don’t we need this? Seems like the only obvious answer is, “Yes, we do need this!”

Mild Mannered Moderate

June 21st, 2012
12:31 pm

@Proud Voter – I think Europe is a nice place to visit but I wouldn’t want to live there here. I went to europe once and want europe to stay there. Plus marta smells and trains in europe did not smell. If we can’t keep our trains clean then they don’t need them here.