The primary purpose of the State Rail Plan is to serve as a statewide long-range rail planning document and to provide comprehensive railroad industry data. The plan enables the Department to implement a more efficient and effective approach to integrate passenger and freight rail elements into the state of Georgia's larger multi-modal transportation framework. It covers the time period from the present to the year 2040 for integration with the Georgia Statewide Transportation Plan (SWTP) and Statewide Strategic Transportation Plan (SSTP).
The Plan articulates Georgia's vision and plans for freight and passenger rail service in Georgia. Pursuant with federal regulations, the Plan includes a description of the state rail network, its related transportation and economic benefits and deficiencies, and a program of proposed investments for the rail system through 2040.
The Department conducted extensive outreach to the state’s railroads, shippers, ports, public sector transportation planners, neighboring states’ transportation officials, and the public. The feedback generated by this outreach helped the Department to identify potential administrative and regulatory improvements to enhance rail-related economic development benefits to the state. Public input was also fundamental in establishing the state rail vision and guiding goals, objectives and the proposed projects necessary to realize the established vision and goals.
Six public meetings took place over the course of the plan’s development. The first round of three was held in April 2014 and the second round was held in August 2014. The meetings were conducted in Dalton, Atlanta and Valdosta.