The results of a new study on a bullet train between Chattanooga and Nashville are expected to show that a route tracking Interstate 24 would be the best, an official said Monday.
Joe Ferguson, who is overseeing the fast-train initiative for Chattanooga’s Enterprise Center, said the study’s results also will offer ridership projections as well as suggestions where stations may go on the route.
He said the $870,000 study is slated to be finished in late May.
Officials have said that while there’s no money to build a train, Chattanooga needs to be ready if funds become available from the federal government or private sector.
Mr. Ferguson told the center’s board the next step will be to perform an environmental impact study such as that which is in progress between Chattanooga and Atlanta.
“It’s preliminary to an EIS,” he said of the Nashville-Chattanooga study.
Wayne Cropp, the center’s executive director, said he returned earlier this month from Shanghai, China, where he rode on a magnetic levitation train that reached 280 mph.
“Maglev is outstanding technology,” he said about the train which operates on a 20-mile route.
Mr. Ferguson said the $7.9 million EIS study under way between the Chattanooga and Atlanta airports just completed its first full year and has about 18 months left.
“We’re in full gear,” he said, adding that plans are to have a pair of meetings in Cobb County, Ga., this week.
Mr. Ferguson said there is interest in Georgia about the feasibility of extending a potential maglev route to Macon and then on to Savannah.
He said a bullet train, in addition to carrying passengers, could carry cargo from Savannah’s port.
Maglev technology involves the use of electrically charged magnets which make the train hover over the track and propel it at speeds of 300 mph.
An earlier study determined the building of a 40-mile demonstration leg from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport north would provide a $1.5 billion infusion of cash and create 6,000 jobs.
A feasibility study on a Chattanooga to Nashville bullet train is slated to be finished late next month.
Mike Pare, the deputy Business editor at the Chattanooga Times Free Press, has worked at the paper for 27 years. In addition to editing, Mike also writes Business stories and covers Volkswagen, economic development and manufacturing in Chattanooga and the surrounding area. In the past he also has covered higher education. Mike, a native of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., received a bachelor’s degree in communications from Florida Atlantic University. he worked at the Rome News-Tribune before ...