Funding might put the brakes on high-speed rail from Charlotte to Atlanta

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Transportation planners last week submitted a recommended route for a high-speed rail line connecting Charlotte and Atlanta, nudging the project forward — but with a long way still to go.

According to the plan, assembled by the Federal Railroad Administration and the Georgia Department of Transportation with input from North Carolina and South Carolina counterpart agencies and stakeholders, the 274-mile line would take passengers between the two cities in under three hours. That estimate is based on using diesel-powered trains; converting to electric-powered trains would cut travel times to slightly more than two hours.

But the most important estimate from the study of environmental, economic, and transportation impact is this: $6.2 billion to $8.4 billion, as in the projected cost to build the Charlotte-Atlanta high-speed rail line.

“The main hang-up is, ultimately, going to be money,” said David Carol, chief operating officer at the American Public Transportation Association, a Washington-based advocacy group and supporter of high-speed rail. “And the challenge there is where does that money come from.”

CBJ’s Erik Spanberg delved into that question this week. Read the full story here

(Watch Below: Preferred corridor chosen for proposed Atlanta-to-Charlotte high-speed rail)