A proposed high speed passenger rail line linking Charlotte, N.C., and Atlanta, Ga., now has a preferred route.
As part of the Atlanta to Charlotte Passenger Rail Corridor Investment Plan (PRCIP), the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) and the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) recently released the Tier 1 Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and Record of Decision (ROD) (download below). It evaluated three route options to serve the growing Piedmont Atlantic Megaregion, including Atlanta; Charlotte; Greenville, S.C.; and Spartanburg, S.C.
Georgia DOT and FRA worked with North Carolina and South Carolina stakeholders throughout the process. FRA identified the Greenfield Corridor as the preferred corridor alternative based on analysis presented in the Tier 1 Draft EIS, and input received from the public, stakeholders and agencies during public meetings and the comment period.
The 274-mile Greenfield Corridor connects Charlotte (Charlotte Gateway Station) and the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (see map above). Two stations in South Carolina, three in North Carolina, and five in Georgia could be included. The route “generally follows a new dedicated alignment between the Charlotte Douglas International Airport and northeast Atlanta,” according to FRA, which noted that the service could use diesel (for speeds of up to 125 mph) or electric (up to 220 mph) propulsion technology. “A future Tier II study will define the specific alignment for the Greenfield Corridor alternative, including the final approaches into Atlanta and Charlotte.”
The Atlanta-Charlotte line is an “integral extension of the Southeast High-Speed Rail (SEHSR) corridor, as designated by the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT),” according to FRA. “The SEHSR corridor will ultimately provide important connectivity between Atlanta and Washington, D.C., and on to the Northeast Corridor to Boston, Mass.”
Funding to build this part of the SEHSR has not yet been fully identified, according to FRA.