Proponents of the Georgia Brain Train gathered at the Capitol this week, asking for money and support for the project, which they estimate could take more than 10,000 daily commuters off the road.
The irony is the group of more than 100 supporters had to find its way to the Capitol, a trip that no doubt underscored their beliefs that something has to be done about the clogged roadways of metro Atlanta.
That commute, one of the worst in the nation, should be the impetus for making the Brain Train a reality. Metro Atlanta in general, and Gwinnett County in particular, have to find ways to better manage the monster called rush hour. The Brain Train would be a step in that direction.
With legislators facing a budget crunch, Georgians for the Brain Train, led by Emory Morsberger, will have a tough sell in getting the $10 million in state budget money it seeks to build train stations. But Sen. Don Balfour, R-Snellville, and Rep. Clay Cox, R-Lilburn, have filed resolutions backing the project, which could be up and running by 2011.
"There's a great need for a train, there's no doubt about that," Balfour said. "I think there is high demand. This is one way to get people off the road."
The proposed commuter rail would connect Athens to Atlanta, linking together colleges and universities from the University of Georgia to Georgia Gwinnett College and on to Georgia Tech and Georgia State. It would cater to students, professors and researchers, but would also carry other professionals to and from work.
Morsberger calls it a quality of life issue, saying that rail commuters are more productive and safer than people who drive to work by themselves. Detractors argue that the project is too expensive and won't attract enough riders.
But not having the rail option will ensure no commuters are taken off the roads. The Brain Train is not the sole answer to the area's traffic gridlock, but it would certainly help. Have any thoughts about this editorial? Share them with us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Letters should be no more than 200 words and are subject to approval by the publisher. Letters may be edited for style and space requirements. Please sign your name and provide an address and a daytime telephone number. Address letters for publication to: Letters to the Editor, Gwinnett Daily Post, P.O. Box 603, Lawrenceville, GA 30046-0603. The fax number is 770-339-8081.