WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Zach Wamp, R-Tenn., said the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) will award $14.2 million to accelerate an environmental impact statement for a high-speed magnetic levitation, or maglev, train between Atlanta, Chattanooga and Nashville.
The majority of the grant will be used for the studies required in the National Environmental Policy Act identifying the corridor routes and the station locations for this proposed project.
“This funding is a game changer for the prospect of high-speed rail in the southeast and dramatically increases our chances of success in the years ahead. A high-speed rail connection between Atlanta, Chattanooga and Nashville would build the infrastructure to increase economic development and bring more people to the growing Chattanooga airport,” Wamp said. “Maglev high-speed rail could change the way Americans travel, reducing congestion on crowded roads and at busy airports. These are the types of investments that will help create quality jobs, grow the U.S. economy and help our nation be more competitive.”
“These funds are a great investment as they will accelerate the project and help take us to the next level in developing alternative forms of transportation for this country,” said Jim Hall, chairman of the board of The Enterprise Center. “Atlanta and Chattanooga are two great cities with a bright future ahead of us, and it is exciting to see our region remain on the cutting edge of technology-based economic development.”
A joint application for the funding was filed by the Georgia Department of Transportation with support from the Tennessee Departments of Transportation. Wamp and The Enterprise Center have worked with Georgia State Senator Jeff Mullis, chairman of the Georgia Senate Transportation Committee, and others in north Georgia on regional support for the project.
A maglev train would relieve tremendous congestion in the Atlanta metro area and serve as part of a long needed intermodal mass transit system for the United States. Maglev trains can travel at more than 300 miles per hour, which would mean high-speed ground transportation in the 116-mile corridor from Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport generally along the Interstate 75 corridor to Lovell Field and Chattanooga.
A recent feasibility study determined that the Atlanta-Chattanooga corridor could also extend northwest to Nashville along the Interstate 24 alignment.