Advisory Commission recommends TDOT/Virginia Department of Rail collaboration

Nashville – The Tennessee Department of Transportation TDOT is looking into the possibility of a train system that runs from Nashville to Chattanooga and from Nashville to Atlanta. 

A new study state lawmakers commissioned recommends TDOT determine the cost and feasibility of the rail service. The Tennessee Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations (TACIR) made its opinion known in a letter dated June 28. 

The letter reads, in part:

“TACIR recommends TDOT submit the required supporting data and documentation to the Federal Railroad administration’s Corridor ID Program in support of the joint application already made by local governments for routes connecting Nashville to Chattanooga to Atlanta and Memphis to Nashville. Additionally, at the next funding opportunity, TACIR recommends TDOT apply for a Chattanooga to Knoxville to Bristol route and consider submitting applications for two additional routes. …”

They also recommended TDOT/Virginia Department of Rail collaboration to “Identify opportunities to maximize the viability” of the routes.

According to reports, TDOT responded:

“We are currently evaluating all of the recommendations and remain committed to taking a holistic and multimodal approach to the mobility needs of our citizens and communities. We are certainly interested in all mobility options including passenger rail linking major cities in and through Tennessee and their economic benefits. As with all transportation projects of this magnitude, cost and feasibility are considerable components that still need to be fully evaluated and understood. It will also require participation from several stakeholders such as Amtrak, FRA, bordering states, and coordination efforts between our railroad partners as passenger rail would likely operate on the same lines that handle freight traffic. Over the next several months we will be engaging these interested parties as we incorporate the findings into our updated Statewide Rail Plan.”

This will surely leave the people of Tennessee asking the question; is the rail line a good idea? With the plan in the beginning stages, including conversations between Tennessee and Virginia, we will just have to wait and see where the talks go. 

This is an ongoing story. Check back for updates.

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