The Georgia Department of Transportation today celebrated the signing of a two-year, $12 million contract with a private development team selected to plan — and eventually build — Atlanta's long-awaited downtown train terminal. Or, as the government folks like to call it, the "multi-modal passenger terminal."
The station will be built in the vast parking lot between Philips Arena and south downtown often referred to as "the Gulch." The area was once home to Atlanta's two train stations — one of which, Terminal Station, should have never been demolished.
Once built, the downtown terminal is expected to serve MARTA, Atlanta's streetcar and local, regional and intercity buses. The station will also be equipped to handle future high-speed and intercity rail service.
“The multi-modal passenger terminal will help transform how we move around our city and region,” Mayor Kasim Reed said in a statement. “The MMPT will serve as the focal point for many existing and future transit networks. It is an important part of the overall effort to improve and expand public transportation in metropolitan Atlanta, and it will help our region maintain its competitive edge."
In addition, a GDOT spokeswoman says, the station will "serve as a catalyst for one of the largest transit-oriented development projects in the U.S., with expected commercial, recreational and residential mixed-use development."
The development team includes Forest City Enterprises and Atlanta-based firms Cousins Properties and The Integral Group. According to GDOT, the firms will spend the next two years working on a "conceptual design of the MMPT and potential funding options." The AJC's Rachel Tobin says the contract also requires the team to, before December 2013, "complete an environmental assessment; explore north-south rail alignment and its effects on MARTA, freight rail, roads and destinations; examine bus access issues; create a conceptual plan for the hub and surrounding spaces; work with the DOT on land purchases if needed; identify funding sources; and hold public hearings."
Which means that since these private developers are managing all the design work, the state can get started on making sure we actually have trains to serve the terminal, right? Dawn of a new day and all that!
For much more information about the downtown train terminal proposal, click here.
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