A plan to bring high speed rail from Atlanta to Savannah cleared the first of many hurdles recently when both chambers of Congress approved the measure.
The initiative is backed by Senator Jon Ossoff, but includes the support of lawmakers on both sides of the aisle. Ossoff says expanding high-speed rail across the southeast will drive economic growth and increase mobility and connectivity.
Planning is currently underway for an intercity rail line between Atlanta and Charlotte with a proposed stop in Athens. Ossoff seeks to do connect Atlanta to Savannah in the same manner, with a stop in Macon. Eventually, the line would connect to Nashville through Northeast Georgia and down to Jacksonville, Florida.
But much must be done before such a project can even begin. The Georgia Department of Transportation pledged $8 million to study the feasibility of the project. The approval of the initiative, which passed through both chambers as part of the federal omnibus spending bill, ensures the study is conducted.
“This historic first step will assess the viability of a high-speed rail connection between Atlanta and Savannah, connecting these great cities and communities in between,” Ossoff said.
Atlanta Mayor Andrew Dickens is also supporting the concept. “The paths to our shared futures have always been paved with connectivity. Atlanta, the state of Georgia and its cities can only benefit from forward-thinking policies like high-speed rail expansion,” he said. Savannah Mayor Van Johnson also offered support, but limited his praise to impacts on his constituents.