CHARLOTTE — Federal and state of Georgia transportation planners have chosen a “preferred corridor” for the proposed Atlanta-to-Charlotte high-speed rail.
With speeds up to 220 mph, a cost upwards of $8 billion and a travel time of just over 2 hours, a high-speed rail passenger train between Atlanta and Charlotte would be a game changer.
Made public on July 9, what’s known as the “Greenfield Corridor Alternative” would follow a new dedicated right-of-way between Charlotte Douglas International Airport and a point west of Athens, Georgia, before potentially following existing railroad right-of-way approaching the Charlotte and Atlanta end points.
It would be fully separated from the existing roadway and railroad transportation systems.
Due to the size and complexity of the project, planners at the Federal Railroad Administration and Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) have deferred many major decisions until the future. These include the specific approaches into Atlanta and Charlotte; locations of stations and facilities; and the type of propulsion technology that would be used.
The 274-mile line would potentially serve three stations in North Carolina: One at the new Charlotte Gateway, one at Charlotte Douglas International Airport and one in south Gastonia. South Carolina would get two stations: One at Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport and one in Anderson.
But planners say that within the approaches to Atlanta and Charlotte, the preferred corridor would transition to dedicated passenger rail tracks in a shared-use freight corridor to access stations including Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and Charlotte Douglas.
The rail would take decades to build. The 2050 projected revenue is in the $400 million range, with an annual ridership figure around 6 million.
(Watch below: Leaders provide update on light rail expansion)
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