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State rail plan meetings set

Special to SEGAZINE

The Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) has initiated the development of its 2014 Statewide Rail Plan. The purpose of the plan is to serve as a statewide long-range rail planning document and provide comprehensive industry data. It will cover the time period from the present to year 2040 for integration with the Georgia Statewide Transportation Plan (SWTP) and Statewide Strategic Transportation Plan (SSTP).

The plan will articulate State’s vision for freight and passenger rail services. Pursuant with federal requirements, the plan will include a description of the state rail network, its related transportation and economic impacts, and a proposed program of investments in the state rail system consistent with the state’s rail vision. The Department will conduct extensive outreach to the state’s railroads, shippers, ports, transit agencies, public sector transportation planners, neighboring states’ transportation officials and the public. This outreach will also be fundamental in establishing the state rail vision, along with supporting goals and objectives, to guide the Department’s rail planning and programing efforts into the future.

There will be six public meetings scheduled during 2014. They will be held in Dalton, Atlanta and Valdosta. During the first round of three public meetings in April, GDOT representatives will explain the purpose of the plan and hear what Georgians want and need from their rail system.

Listed below are the dates and locations for the first round of public meetings. All meetings are from 5-7 p.m., with a short presentation starting at 5:30 p.m. 

•  April 15, 2014: Dalton City Hall, 300 W. Waugh St., Dalton;

•  April 16, 2014: Atlanta Regional Commission, 40 Courtland St., Atlanta and

•  April 17, 2014: Valdosta City Hall Annex, 300 N. Lee St., Valdosta.

 

For those unable to attend the meetings and who would like to participate, the presentation and a short survey will be available on the project webpage the week of the meetings via the following link:

http://www.dot.ga.gov/travelingingeorgia/rail/Pages/StateRailPlan.aspx

During the second round of meetings in fall 2014, GDOT representatives will explain the plan’s recommendations and solicit public comment. Dates of the public meetings will be announced on the project webpage.  The planning effort will conclude in December 2014 with the publication of the 2014 Georgia State Rail Plan.  CDM Smith, a transportation planning and engineering firm, is assisting the Department in the plan’s development.   Inquiries about the plan can be directed to Harry Boxler, Project Manager at hboxler@dot.ga.gov or 404-631-1225.

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