Listening Session Held For Charlotte to Atlanta High Speed Rail

CHARLOTTE, NC -Dozens of people filled a transportation center in North Charlotte on Thursday night, looking over plans for high-speed rail.

“This would help Charlotte considerably,” said Daryl Sanders of Matthews.

“I think it’s a great idea,” said Alison Nichols of Charlotte.

A recent study found connecting Charlotte and Atlanta with high-speed rail would create jobs, reduce air pollution and increase mobility for millions.

“Charlotte to Atlanta, Atlanta to Charlotte a little to far to drive, but a little too close to fly,” said Scott Higley with the Georgia Department of Transportation.

He says people have shown a lot of interest in the three meetings they’ve held this week.

“If I had had an opportunity to first get my commute cut in half and then someone else is driving; that would have been a dream,” said Nichols.

Three routes are being considered. The Greenfield route would cost an estimated $7 billion dollars. It would take up to two hours and forty-four minutes to travel. The route would service 6.3 million people annually.
The I-85 route would cost $15 billion dollars to construct. It would take about the same travel time and would service 5.6 million people.
The southern crescent route is by far the least expensive at $2.3 billion, but it would take up to five and a half hours to travel and only service 1.2 million people annually.

“I would like to see high-speed rail come to the U.S.,” said Shawn Smith, “I know it’s going to take money, but hey building interstates took money too. So at some point, we need to make the investment.”

“This could be publicly funded, this could be privately funded, it could be a public-private partnership of some kind,” explained Higley.

He says a realistic construction start date would be years away.

“Really it’s anybody’s guess how long something like this would take,” said Higley.

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For more information about the project and the possible routes, click here.