FRA Identifies Corridor for Atlanta-to-Chattanooga High Speed Rail Line

Acela
(Photo courtesy Amtrak)

ATLANTA — The feds have identified a preferred corridor for a high-speed rail line between Atlanta and Chattanooga, Tenn., the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) said.

The approximately 120 mile-long line would roughly parallel Interstate 75 and provide a competitive and more reliable transportation choice for people traveling between Atlanta and Chattanooga, officials said. The corridor includes eight stations and should take 88 minutes to travel (averaging roughly 81 mph).

The route would start on the east side of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport at a proposed Southern Crescent Station. It would end at a proposed downtown Chattanooga station.

“This combined FEIS and ROD is a product of nine years’ work from FRA and its state partners,” FRA Deputy Administrator Heath Hall said in a news release. “The administration is working diligently to remove barriers, which slow down the environmental process so that people can get to work rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure.”

The preferred corridor is part of the completion of a so-called Tier I combined Final Environmental Impact Statement and Record of Decision (FEIS/ROD) for the High-Speed Ground Transportation (HSGT) project. The FEIS/ROD marks the completion of the Tier I environmental review process under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and documents FRA’s identification of a preferred corridor.

The Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) studied the corridor as part of Georgia’s 1997 Intercity Rail Plan, which recommended further study – specifically with an emphasis on high-speed rail service. During the scoping process of the study, GDOT and the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) identified 15 unique corridors between Atlanta and Chattanooga. GDOT and TDOT then subjected those corridors to a screening process and ultimately narrowed down three corridors for the FEIS.