CLAYTON COUNTY, Ga. — Six Georgia cities and counties are hoping to launch a game-changing transit system.
“It’s kind of like something from the 'Jetsons,'” Lake City Mayor Ronald Dodson said, referring to the futuristic cartoon series that first hit TV screens in the early 1960s.
Dodson and the City Council want Transit X to whiz through their neighborhoods.
"There was no doubt in our mind that we were going to do it. We just want to see it happen," Dodson told Channel 2's Rikki Klaus.
Transit X's indoor test track is based just outside of Boston.
“Transit X is a new form of personal public transit,” the company’s CEO, Mike Stanley, said from his indoor test track near Boston.
Pods that fit four people would ride under a track, traveling above traffic. Stanley said it would cost riders about what they pay for MARTA.
The system offers "what people love about cars but without the negative side effects of cars and what they love about public transit but without all the negatives of public transit,” Stanley said.
Stanley said six municipalities -- Macon-Bibb, College Park, Forest Park, Hapeville and Henry County -- have all signed agreements to install pod tracks. The CEO asked Eagles Landing developer J.T. Williams to be his Atlanta-area representative.
“This is a great way for him to make a big dent and provide service that was really needed and wanted by the general public,” Williams said.
Stanley said Transit X would be privately financed at about $7 million a mile, costing taxpayers and governments nothing.
He said municipalities would actually make 5 percent of gross revenue for the use of their right of ways. Getting local decision makers on board hasn’t taken much convincing so far.
“It’s been unanimous for every municipality, so each city and each county, they’re like, ‘This is great.’ ‘This is a no-brainer for us.’ ‘Why wouldn’t we?’ ‘You’re not asking us for money, and you’re going to be paying us money, and you’re solving all of our key issues,’” Stanley said.
Transit X's short-term goal is to offer nonstop trips from south of the metro to Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta International Airport.
“So a pod will come down, and pick you up at the ground level, and then lift you up to the main level and merge on to the podway, which will take you nonstop to your destination,” Stanley said.
The CEO said the driverless, solar-powered, electric pods would be profitable and environmentally friendly. He said it could transform transportation.
“So this turns out to be, I think, one of the only solutions that can actually replace cars and roads,” Stanley said.
Stanley still needs approval from Clayton County and the airport.
“We’ve been speaking with Hartsfield, and those talks are ongoing, but it looks like they’re pretty positive to what we’re proposing,” Stanley said.
Dodson is ready for it.
“I really don’t see any cons other than let’s get it done,” Dodson said.
Williams said Macon-Bibb wants Transit X to travel to the airport. He said his next presentations will be to county commissions in Spalding, Monroe, Butts and Clayton counties.
© 2020 Cox Media Group