Chattanooga City Council -- July 29, 2008
A private consultant involved in a study for a proposed high-speed train route between Chattanooga and Atlanta told City Council members Tuesday that workers now are looking at 24 possible types of alignments for how such a vehicle might connect the two cities.
“When we end up with this study, we will have a preferred alignment, a preferred technology, how to phase the different segments, where to start, and have hopefully a good idea of what the costs are,” said Chris Brady, principal of Commonwealth Research Associates LLC.
Mr. Brady said workers are studying ridership characteristics projected for each of the 24 separate alignments, and those will be narrowed down to six alignments: three with magnetic levitation, or maglev, and three with very-high-speed rail, or VHS, technology. Then those six alignments will get more study, he said.
ON THE WEB
Learn more about the proposed Chattanooga-to-Atlanta train at www.atl-chatt.org
The study is expected to be finished at the end of 2009 or the start of 2010, Mr. Brady said during the project report to the Chattanooga City Council.
Council Chairwoman Linda Bennett said high gas costs are causing more desire for such modes of alternative transportation.
“We’d love to see something like this happen,” she said.
Meanwhile, Joe Ferguson, with The Enterprise Center, said a feasibility study of the proposed Chattanooga-to-Nashville high-speed train route has been finished. He said that route likely would go along the current Interstate 24 corridor.
Mr. Ferguson said the Chattanooga-to-Atlanta portion would have to come first.
The Chattanooga-to-Atlanta train has been proposed to stop off at stations in downtown Chattanooga and Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport.
Also on Tuesday, the City Council’s Legal and Legislative Committee recommended for the full council’s consideration a ballot referendum measure to change the City Charter to allow the internal auditor to report to both the council and the mayor. The referendum, if approved by the full council, would appear on November ballots.
The charter now stipulates that the city’s internal auditor “shall be appointed by the council, independent of the mayor.” However, internal auditor Stan Sewell and his team report to Mayor Ron Littlefield’s office.
Councilman Leamon Pierce spoke against what is called “dual reporting,” where an internal audit office reports to both the council and the mayor. Mr. Pierce compared this type of structure to what he called the “predicaments” encountered by City Attorney Randy Nelson, who offers legal counsel for both the council and the mayor.
“The council is separate from the mayor’s office,” Mr. Pierce said. “We can’t tie ’em both together.”
But Ms. Bennett said the internal audit office is “cohesive” and “doing a good job.”
“I don’t want to tear that up,” she said. “I’d like to enhance it by having it report to the council, which is something they don’t do right now.”
Meanwhile on Tuesday night, the council opted to defer a proposed closure and abandonment of a portion of Frazier Avenue for another week, Public Works Administrator Steve Leach said. Mr. Leach said that time would give the city attorney and the applicant, Girls Preparatory School, a chance to work out details related to the proposed closure.
GPS officials want the city to give the school the stretch of road by the school, but neighbors oppose the proposal.