Colleges join train backers

LAWRENCEVILLE - Members of local colleges have boarded the Georgia Brain Train bandwagon.

The group that hopes to create an Athens-to-Atlanta rail line has brought faculty and students from seven colleges along for the ride, dubbing them the College Board and hoping that their efforts will further solidify support for the project.

Paul Snyder, a spokesman for the project, said the enthusiasm students have for the Brain Train will translate into more support throughout the region.

"They're building their own communities within their institutions," he said. "That's where it will really start building momentum."

Snyder said different schools have used the Brain Train in their curriculums, creating branding campaigns or writing newspaper articles about it. Other projects that may result from the partnership include letter-writing campaigns or alumni outreach.

The main focus of the group is to further enhance public awareness, Snyder said.

Members of the College Board represent the University of Georgia, Emory University, Morehouse College, Spelman College, Georgia Tech, Georgia State University and Agnes Scott College.

Some schools have yet to identify student leaders to join the group, Snyder said, while others - such as Georgia Gwinnett College - are too new to have student leadership in place.

Jennifer Stephens, a spokeswoman for Georgia Gwinnett College, said the school's president is on the Brain Train board. Snyder said he expects other schools to become involved in the coming months.

The Brain Train is expected to link Atlanta to Athens via the colleges between the two cities. Studies conducted by the group show the project would eliminate more than 5,000 commutes daily and alleviate congestion along Ga. Highway 316.