Biden administration announces $1.5 million to study Georgia passenger rail routes

A proposed high-speed rail from Atlanta to Charlotte, North Carolina, is one of three Georgia projects that will receive $500,000 in planning money from the Biden administration. But no timetable has been identified for construction. (Courtesy of Georgia Department of Transportation)

A proposed high-speed rail from Atlanta to Charlotte, North Carolina, is one of three Georgia projects that will receive $500,000 in planning money from the Biden administration. But no timetable has been identified for construction. (Courtesy of Georgia Department of Transportation)

The Biden administration announced Friday that it will spend $1.5 million to study three passenger rail projects that would pass through Atlanta.

The administration will award the North Carolina Department of Transportation up to $500,000 for a Charlotte-to-Atlanta high-speed rail project. The money would be used to develop a scope, schedule and cost estimate for a service development plan.

The route has been studied for years — state and federal officials identified a preferred Atlanta-to-Charlotte route in 2021. But don’t expect to catch a high-speed train anytime soon. No state or federal funds have been set aside to build the project, estimated to cost up to $8.4 billion. And there’s no timetable for construction.

The Biden administration also announced up to $500,000 each to study two conventional passenger rail projects that would serve Atlanta.

The Georgia Department of Transportation would continue developing a service development plan for an Atlanta-to-Savannah rail route — another long-sought route.

Chattanooga, Tennessee, would develop a scope, schedule and cost estimate for preparing a service development plan for passenger rail service connecting Atlanta, Chattanooga, Nashville, Tennessee, and Memphis, Tennessee.

No timetable has been announced for building either of the conventional rail projects.

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