Earlier this week officials announced plans for a high-speed rail line connecting Raleigh, N.C., and Atlanta.
However, the route is nothing new because it has been in the planning phase for a number of years. Here is what we know about the current status of the project.
The high-speed rail line would cut through Gaston County, make a stop at the Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport before moving on to Athens and Atlanta, with a few stops along the way. Officials in Georgia and the Federal Railroad Administration recently made public a plan for the route, and at some point between the airport and Gaston County the train will have to move off existing tracks on onto high-speed rail tracks, which have not been constructed yet. Once on the new tracks, trains can go as fast as 220 mph. Land for this route, however, still needs to be acquired.
Electric propulsion will allow the trip to be made in just over two hours, but currently a flight from Raleigh to Atlanta is just one hour and 15 minutes.
The high-speed rail project has no dedicated funding, which could be the biggest hurdle to clear. It appears the next infrastructure spending bill will have a trust fund set up for high-speed rail projects, but the Raleigh-to-Atlanta route could cost as much as $8.4 billion. The Senate’s version sets aside $66 billion for freight and passenger rail. That’s enough to nudge this project along, but it will not help fund a national high-speed rail network.