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Wednesday, March 20, 2013 - 11:45am

Macon-Atanta Rail Bill Stalls

A last-ditch effort to save a Macon-to-Atlanta high speed rail initiative failed at the State Capitol Wednesday, leaving proponents feeling like they lost on a technicality.

Like a locomotive, the House clerk read a list of so-called "local" bills up for their last chance at passage this year; the one from Atlanta Democrat Keisha Waites never left the station. She sought no funding for the rail corridor, rather the authority to contract with private investors who might be interested in running passenger trains.

"It is my hope [potential investors] would be patient, that they would see the bigger picture and the opportunity for a lucrative profit," Waites said. "And it is my hope we will have another shot at the apple next year."

Republican legislators had expressed relatively minor concerns about the bill at a committee hearing last week.

Waites filed a last-minute substitution with significant concessions. It couldn’t advance, she said, because it did not match the language that appeared in a mandatory newspaper announcement notifying the public of her plans.

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