Is Georgia Spawning Rail Republicans?

Over on Peach Pundit, one of their commentators suggested a couple days back that though new Republican governors in other states, like Wisconsin and Ohio, say they’re planning on rejecting hundreds of millions in already-awarded high-speed rail stimulus, lately Georgia Republicans have been singing a slightly different tune when it comes to some Georgia “rail projects”.

The post points specifically to recent Republican comments regarding a potential transit hub in “the Gulch” downtown.

U.S. Rep. Lynn Westmoreland of Coweta County said he expects a highway bill next year “that will be able to authorize funds to beneficial projects, like this one, and I encourage GDOT to work to secure funding for this project in this bill.”

Previous transit critics also have come around, including DOT board member David Doss, who chairs the committee overseeing the hub’s development.

Though he still calls commuter trains “choo-choos,” he likes buses and high-speed rail for their potential to transform Georgia, and a transit hub would be a central location for those.

What’s pushing Georgia Republicans out of lock-step with their more traditional brethren?

For one – as the Peach Pundit post notes – Charlotte, North Carolina’s recent aggressive efforts in all-things-rail has Georgians of all stripes concerned.  It’s one thing to oppose federal investments in rail and another to willfully turn down competitive dollars, only to see your neighbors benefit and passing you on the economic fast-track.