So I'm a bit late on the AJC article regarding commuter rail. You can see the proposed routes from the GDOT Transit Planning Board, which has recommended the rail lines. Not really any "news" per se, other than the approval.
Take a look at the travel times - they take a little longer than it does to drive. Can any transit buffs tell me why it doesn't make more sense to pursue high-speed rail? If we are spending $100 million to $500 million per line in start up costs, why aren't high-speed rail options being discussed?
The original Southwest Airline model was based on the idea that they were really competing against drivers, not other airlines. The Southwest folks decided they would make it easier to fly to these middle-distance destinations rather than drive by making it cheaper and quicker. I feel like the same mindset should be used for commuter rails - we need to make it quicker and cheaper for people to take the train to Athens.
I'd love to hear from someone who has had a chance to dig into the financials of a high-speed rail line instead of old technology. I have too much going on right now to really dig into it all. Is it prohibitively expensive, or just "more expensive"? What sort of return on investment could you expect with a high speed rail vs. conventional rail?