The state of Georgia actually owns the Western and Atlantic Railroad tracks that run between Chattanooga and Atlanta, passing through Kennesaw, Marietta, Vinings, and Smyrna. When the state renewed CSX’s lease for another 50 years last fall, Georgia retained the option of installing passenger service along this corridor. (Many railroad tracks in the U.S. serve both freight and passengers.) The new lease also sold more than two miles of unused tracks for $10 to be used to extend the Silver Comet Trail, which furthered Cobb’s efforts to connect that trail to the BeltLine. Transit advocates claim this route would be a relatively easy way to extend commuter rail into Cobb. Indeed, a proposal in the late 2000s even argued lease revenues could build and operate a growing network of passenger rail trains from Atlanta and into the suburbs that includes the CSX line. To make the potential become a reality takes political will, and Cobb might have the opportunity to build out rail if elected officials put a funding measure on the ballot in the 2021 election.
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