Exciting News for Campus Commuters
The Weevil State University Board of Regents, in cooperation with the TriCounty Transportation Consortium, the Town of Weevil Junction Parking Authority, the Alabama Light Rail User Network, and Pinetree Citizens for the Future are pleased to announce the beginning of a new era in wheeled transportation for our area with the introduction of a proposed light rail train system.
The system will serve all of the WSU campus, as well as several outlying commuter lots. The three-mile closed loop circulator will cost an estimated $450 million dollars, and greatly eliminate congestion during normal class times, as well as on game days.
The new system promises to combine the best aspects of the futuristic monorail which carries vacationing revelers in Disney World; the downtown trolley lines of places such as Portland, Oregon and San Francisco, California; the speed and convenience of subway travel; and the romance of live steam.
The new rail line will have a three-hundred foot section of underground tracks, 1.2 miles of structural steel elevated track (similar to the Chicago “Ell” trains featured on NBC’s hit show “ER”), an inclined portion similar to Lookout Mountain, a 600 foot tunnel (to be constructed above ground and detailed to look like a mountain on the exterior), a waterfall, and a station at George “Goober” Lindsey Refectory with the first Starbucks location within 50 miles. The cars will be pulled by a reproduction of a 1915 Baldwin 2-6-6-2 steam locomotive. The use of steam power will eliminate the necessity for overhead power lines.
Funding for the new commuter system will come from a variety of local source, including a $1,500 student vehicle surcharge, a 40 cent per gallon gasoline tax, an 83 mill property tax increase, a $100 increase in campus parking fees, a $212 grant from West Central State Citizens for Responsible Growth, as well as normal rider fares, which are estimated to range from $1 for senior citizens to $5 for students.
Several campus buildings will be razed to make room for the necessary infrastructure to support the rail system, but WSU Campus Architect Dudley Hall says this should not be a problem. “They are mostly old anyway,” he said.