The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has released a Tier I combined Final Environmental Impact Statement and Record of Decision (FEIS/ROD) for the High-Speed Ground Transportation (HSGT) project that will ultimately connect Atlanta to Chattanooga, Tennessee.
What is High Speed Ground Transportation (HSGT)?
HSGT is an option for the Atlanta to Chattanooga corridor for several reasons.
Mostly, because it can provide quick, reliable, environmentally friendly, and comfortable city- to city- travel at speeds of 180 mph or greater – getting you where you want to go faster.
The Atlanta to Chattanooga corridor has been a focus area in recent years for development of a new train system to improve transportation between the two cities.
Transportation demand is outpacing existing and planned roadway capacity between Atlanta and Chattanooga.
Currently, there are three major highways serving the corridor: I-75, US 41, and US 27.
These highways are projected to operate at or above capacity by the year 2025.
There is a need for additional capacity, but increasing vehicular capacity alone may not be an adequate strategy.
(Learn More. Courtesy of WYFF News 4 and YouTube. Posted on Apr 17, 2017)
This Tier I EIS will investigate and assess transportation, environmental and planning issues for potential HSGT service developed for the study.
The potential corridor alternatives will include, a variety of routes, station locations, operating plans and potential for phased implementation.
The study will also estimate ridership, capital and operating costs, revenue projections and economic impacts.
The purpose of the Atlanta – Chattanooga HSGT Project is to enhance intercity passenger mobility and economic growth between the metropolitan areas and airports of Atlanta, Georgia and Chattanooga, Tennessee by providing new, high-speed ground transportation passenger service.
The Project is also intended to provide faster and more reliable intercity travel in the corridor by providing an alternative to highway, intercity bus, and air travel in a manner that is safe, reliable, and cost-effective, while avoiding, minimizing, and mitigating impacts on the human and natural environment.
The FEIS/ROD marks the completion of the Tier I environmental review process under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and documents FRA’s identification of a preferred corridor.
The HSGT project would run approximately 120 miles along Interstate 75 and provide a competitive and more reliable transportation choice for people traveling between Atlanta and Chattanooga.
The chosen corridor includes eight rail stations and is estimated to take 88 minutes of travel time from the first to last station along the corridor.
The route would begin on the east side of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (HJAIA) at the proposed HJAIA/Southern Crescent Station and end at a proposed downtown Chattanooga station.
“This combined FEIS and ROD is a product of nine years’ work from FRA and its state partners,” said FRA Deputy Administrator Heath Hall.
“The administration is working diligently to remove barriers, which slow down the environmental process so that people can get to work rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure.”
The Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) studied the corridor as part of Georgia’s 1997 Intercity Rail Plan, which recommended further study – specifically with an emphasis on high-speed rail service.
During the scoping process of the study, GDOT and the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) identified 15 unique corridors between Atlanta and Chattanooga.
GDOT and TDOT then subjected those corridors to a screening process and ultimately narrowed down three corridors for the FEIS.
The FEIS/ROD provides information on train technology, maximum operating speeds and station location options.
However, decisions on these issues, as well as the exact alignment within the preferred corridor, will be part of a Tier II NEPA study, if additional funding is secured.
For more information on the HSGT project, visit FRA’s Atlanta – Chattanooga High-Speed Ground Transportation Page.https://www.fra.dot.gov/Page/P0451