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Wednesday, May 18, 2011 - 11:38am

NASCAR Train Rides To Promote Rail

Newly elected Public Service Commissioner Tim Echols think Georgians need a taste of train travel to convince them to support passenger rail in the state.

So, the freshman PSC member is arranging public train rides to Georgia’s next NASCAR race in September.

The state-run SAM Shortline Excursion Train will ferry about 400 people from Middle Georgia to Atlanta’s Motor Speedway.

Echols says he hopes the trip will renew interest in a passenger railroad between Macon and Atlanta.

"Hopefully it will be enough of a buzz where these transportation round tables say ‘We want to put the Macon-Atlanta rail on our short list and we want the voters to make a decision on it in 2012’," says Echols.

The statewide round tables begin in June. There members of the community will finalize lists of projects to be paid for by a proposed 1-cent sales tax.