Developers want to bring light rail system to Huntsville - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Developers want to bring light rail system to Huntsville

By Trang Do - Bio | Email
Posted by Dana Franks - Email

HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - Imagine taking one out of every five cars off of I-565 during rush hour. Two Huntsville developers say it could be a reality if a light rail system is built in the city.

The first phase would service workers at Redstone Arsenal. The developers hope to see the system built before waves of BRAC arrivals make the traffic problem even worse.

John Goodrum has been changing Huntsville's landscape for years, with an architectural resume that includes work on Redstone Arsenal and the U.S. Space and Rocket center. But one huge project has pulled Goodrum out of retirement.

"It's a big undertaking. It's a massive undertaking," Goodrum said. 

Developer Doug Gooch has recruited Goodrum to help develop a light rail system for the city.

The first phase of the project would create a train line that would shuffle workers in and out of Redstone Arsenal to park and ride stations at Bridge Street and Cummings Research Park.

"That would eliminate probably, 40 to 50 thousand cars a day. That's environmentally correct, that's cost savings to the rider, that's security for the base," said Gooch, who has been developing the project for the past three years. 

Gooch said because the city already has existing rail lines, the costs of the project would be slashed in half.

"We're not having to create new rail. It's there. It's been there for about 50 years," he said. 

Eventually the system would expand to other areas of the city and beyond.

Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle said a light rail system would be a great asset for the city, but ultimately it all comes down to dollars and cents.

"We would love to have something like that, and everything in looking at big, new ideas like this comes down to costs. How can we afford it, how can we make it work," Battle said. 

Gooch said the total estimated cost of all phases of the project would be about $500million-- half the cost of the "Patriot Parkway" project that was recently rejected by the Army.  

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