Out of the station?

Out of the station?

January 24th, 2009 by Beverly Carroll in Local Regional News

A North Georgia coalition has asked counties along Interstate 75 to pony up matching funds needed to study a high-speed train route between the Atlanta and Chattanooga airports.

"It would be very beneficial to this county," Catoosa County attorney Skip Patty said. "Our country has relied for too long on the auto as its primary means of transportation."

U.S. Rep. Zach Wamp, R-Tenn., supports an Atlanta to Chattanooga rail line.

"This is the perfect time for high-speed rail to advance because of (President Barack Obama's) agenda," Rep. Wamp said. "That would be something I would very much support and have supported."

Georgia and Tennessee officials jointly committed to raise $4.75 million in matching funds needed to apply for a $15 million federal transportation grant. The federal money would continue a feasibility study on the magnetic high-speed rail. The grant application was submitted Dec. 31, 2008.

Georgia transportation officials asked Catoosa County for $230,500, but commissioners approved a $150,000 pledge. Commissioners said they hope to raise the remaining $80,500 from local businesses.

Whitfield County commissioners committed $348,000 to the project, said Whitfield Dalton Chamber president Brian Anderson.

Bartow, Cobb and Gordon counties also were asked for contributions. Walker, Murray and Chattooga counties were asked for smaller contributions since they are not directly on the proposed route, officials said.