The AJC reports this morning that GDOT is considering trying to spend the $87 million “use-it-or-lose-it” federal funding for the Lovejoy rail line to help construct the much talked-about Grand Central Terminal in downtown Atlanta’s under-utilized “Gulch”.
The proposed terminal hub would be located just northwest of the current Five Points MARTA station – here’s an excellent map that shows all of Atlanta’s past, present and proposal rail stations – and would serve not just MARTA, but high-speed passenger rail, AMTRAK and commuter lines for the entire metro area.
Of course, any costly infrastructure improvement requires taking on some risk. If high-speed rail and commuter lines never find their way out of the Northeast, and all rail becomes as difficult to execute as the Lovejoy line, an giant Atlanta hub might only echo with the footsteps of lovely MARTA riders lost in an underground world of unused tracks.
However, if the alternative is allowing the $87 million to go unused and thrown back into the federal pile only to be snatched up by some other competing second-tier city, I say “If you can determine its legality, build away!”
P.S. In writing this post, I discovered the great Track Twenty Nine blog out of D.C., which did some exciting renderings of what Atlanta’s hub might look like, with high-speed, MARTA and commuter lines stretching in all directions from the city’s core. Pretty cool stuff if you’re into rail porn.