Politics

Chattanooga Mayor: Bullet Train To Atlanta Unlikely

FILE - In this July 26, 2011 file photo, a CRH high-speed train leaves the Beijing South Station in Beijing. China has announced Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2011 further speed reductions for its much-vaunted bullet trains following a deadly accident last month. (AP Photo/Andy Wong, File)
FILE - In this July 26, 2011 file photo, a CRH high-speed train leaves the Beijing South Station in Beijing. China has announced Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2011 further speed reductions for its much-vaunted bullet trains following a deadly accident last month. (AP Photo/Andy Wong, File)
Credit Andy Wong, File / Associated Press

The mayor of Chattanooga, Tennessee, says he doesn’t think a bullet train connecting Chattanooga to Atlanta, Georgia, will happen. 

The high-speed rail line would extend 110 miles along Interstate 75 from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport to downtown Chattanooga. It’s been in the planning stages since 1998.

The state of Georgia has invested millions of dollars to study the project. A few years ago, both states received a $13.8 million federal grant for environmental studies.

The city of Chattanooga has invested the bulk of the money, and its Chamber of Commerce even took a week-long trip to Germany to study trains there according to the Chattanooga Times Free Press. 

The route was studied by the Georgia Department of Transportation and the Atlanta Regional Commission. Two technologies are being considered: “Very High Speed Rail” (with potential speeds of up to 220 miles per hour) and “Magnetic Levitation” (with potential speeds over 300 miles per hour).  

But Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke told reporters at the Chattanooga Times Free Press it’s clear there’s no political will,  and he says building large-scale infrastructure projects require a lot of federal funding, which isn’t available right now.   

In 2012, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed pushed for the bullet train, comparing it to the impact Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport has had on the city.