Authorities developing Charlotte-ATL high-speed rail routes
North Carolina – The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) recently released a draft environmental impact statement for three proposed routes for a Charlotte-Atlanta high-speed rail line. Driving from one city to the other currently takes about five hours.
Rendering of Gateway Station in Charlotte, North Carolina
One proposed route would incorporate Amtrak’s existing Crescent route at a cost of $2 billion to $3 billion, but it would be the slowest at 79 mph to 110 mph and attract the fewest passengers of the three options.
Another option would build a new corridor for an estimated $6.2 billion to $8.4 billion and produce a line capable of 125 mph to 220 mph speeds for a two-hour travel time. It would serve an estimated 6.3 million passengers a year by 2030.
A third alternative would construct new tracks along Interstate 85 at an estimated cost of $13.3 billion to $15.4 billion. The trains could travel at speeds as high as 180 mph at travel times of less than three hours between Charlotte and Atlanta.
Officials at the FRA and related state departments of transportation are hosting public meetings next week in Charlotte, Greenville, South Carolina, and Atlanta to gather input on the three options.
The Charlotte-Atlanta high-speed rail line is one piece in a planned Southeast High Speed Rail (SEHR) Corridor that would link Atlanta and Charlotte to other cities including Richmond, Virginia, and Washington, D.C.