By Collin Kelley
Last month, INtown planned to run an update on the Maglev train connecting the Georgia State University MARTA Station to Turner Field, which officials expected to be open in time for the Atlanta Braves 2015 season. Something in my gut told me to hold that story because, suddenly, all the stakeholders in the project had gone silent. Now I know why.
With the Braves formally announcing this morning that the team would decamp to a brand new stadium in Cobb County for the 2017 season, the future of a Maglev train – and Turner Field in general – is now up in the air.
For two months, I reached out to the Braves and American Maglev, the Marietta-based firm that has designed the monorail-type train, to get a progress report but officials would not return phone calls. In a previous report, American Maglev president Tony Morris said his company had agreed to a partnership with the Braves to build the magnetically powered train, which would be funded through private financing.
Getting to Turner Field to watch a Braves game is always rife with traffic on the Downtown Connector, surrounding streets and those using MARTA have to take a shuttle from Underground Atlanta. How connectivity will be addressed at the new Cobb site is still unknown, but I can imagine that game nights are going to be hell on the commute.
With an estimated $150 million in renovations needed at The Ted, the Braves decided it was cheaper to build a new stadium closer to their fan base. Hopefully, the City of Atlanta has already put on its thinking cap about what to do with The Ted. A derelict stadium surrounded by an ocean of parking isn’t pretty. Maybe Georgia State University needs a stadium? Hmmm…
And, hey, maybe the Maglev train idea isn’t dead. It could ferry visitors from the Cobb Galleria to the new stadium, I suppose.