As with any substantial passenger rail project in Atlanta (the Streetcar notwithstanding), we must speak here in hypothetical terms. But this news is a positive sign. A study, funded by the Federal Railroad Administration and GDOT, is under way to decide which is the best route for connecting Atlanta and Charlotte via high-speed rail, 11Alive reports. Twenty flights per day shuttle between the competing cities, which officials see as proof that people need to go back and forth. The initial question is an important one: Where exactly should the hypothetical fast train run?
The even-better news for Charlotte haters: The proposed line would connect to the Southeast High Speed Rail Corridor, which is under construction to connect Washington D.C. to Charlotte. Of course, as of now there isn't one thin dime earmarked to pay for building the ATL-CHAR rail line — but it's sure fun to dream, ain't it?
GDOT encourages you to submit your 2 cents on the matter here. Hustle, before this study is shelved and forgotten.
Here are the six proposed routes, per 11Alive:
1. The Norfolk Southern line. It would run through Doraville, Suwanee, Toccoa and Greenville.
2. The CSX Athens route would go through Lawrenceville and Athens before heading to Charlotte.
3. The CSX Augusta route would head east before turning north and connect Augusta and Columbia.
4. The I-85 corridor route will follow I-85 north, connecting both cities.
5. The other interstate possibility follows I-20 and then I-77. The route will also go through Augusta and Columbia.
6. Nicknamed the "Greenfield" option, this corridor would allow for a grade separated rail line, something preferred for optimal speed on high speed rail.
· High speed rail could connect Atlanta to Charlotte [11Alive]
· Six routes on table for high-speed rail to Charlotte [Atlanta Business Chronicle]
· The Study [GDOT]
[Six hypothetical routes image via GDOT]