ATLANTA -- Commuters on future rail lines in Georgia would travel along existing railroad corridors rather than beside major highways as the result of a decision made Thursday by the board overseeing the state's passenger-rail program, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Though details of where the routes and stations will end up still must be worked out, the decision means those stations are going to be placed along freight lines already in use. Consultants advising the board found that more potential rail passengers live along the existing lines.

Adding track along the freight lines is also significantly less costly than following highways. Building new rail lines beside Georgia Highway 316 between Athens and Atlanta and Interstate 75 between Atlanta and Macon were deemed too expensive.

"They were just prohibitively expensive," said Paul Mullins, a planner with the state Department of Transportation who works with the board.

The board's consultants are working on studies that will examine freight-train activity and the potential environmental impacts of using the rail corridors. The activity study will reveal where new track must be laid parallel to the busiest sections to keep freight shipments moving.

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January 12, 2001

2001 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers