Harr Outlines $40 Million Plan For Chattanooga Light Rail System

Monday, July 28, 2014
Ron Harr
Ron Harr

Outgoing Chamber of Commerce President Ron Harr on Monday outlined a $40 million plan for a Chattanooga light rail system that would serve not only downtown, but also the Airport and the Enterprise South Industrial Park.

In a speech to the Chattanooga Engineers Club, Mr. Harr said most cities looking at such an ambitious plan "would be facing costs of over a billion dollars."

But he said Chattanooga is blessed to have numerous rail lines still in place, including one that the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum earlier obtained usage rights.

Mr. Harr said it would cost just $4 million to put a line in place from the TVRM by Missionary Ridge to Montague Park, where he said it could connect by CARTA shuttle to downtown.

He said the line could go all the way to the Chattanooga Choo Choo, where a new Intermodal Transit Station is planned, if a way is found to get past the main freight line that goes near the National Cemetery and Warner Park.

Mr. Harr said estimates are that a tunnel could be built under the main line for $10 million. That would allow the light rail to go from the railroad museum to the Choo Choo.

He said a grant application to pay for setting up the light rail system has been submitted to federal authorities. He said an answer is expected in September.

Mr. Harr said the application was put together hurriedly, but he said it states a very compelling case, including stressing Chattanooga's rich railroad history.

He said the TVRM could reach the Airport and the Enterprise South Industrial Park by just adding a new track of about a mile and a half in each direction. That cost was put at $13 million for each line.

Mr. Harr said one option on train cars would be to spend about $100,000 to refurbish six diesel-powered passenger cars owned by the TVRM. Another would be to use electric-powered vehicles. He said the vehicle would need to go through the Missionary Ridge Tunnel where electric power would not be available overhead, but he said there are technologies available to keep it running for that short distance before a switch back to electric.  

The speaker said the light rail line could serve the need of commuters and also be a tourism draw. He said visitors often ask, "Where's the train?"

He said the line could also help boost redevelopment in East Chattanooga and other communities along the route.

Mr. Harr said he first arrived in Chattanooga as a McCallie boarding student via the Pelican from Bristol.

He said in all the planning for the light rail system one axiom is "there will be no harm to the city's robust freight system." He said 70-80 freight trains a day pass through the city, though they are largely "invisible" to most residents.

He said the city is blessed to be served by both CSX and Norfolk Southern, saying that was a major reason that Chattanooga landed Volkswagen.


Latest Hamilton County Arrest Report

Latest Hamilton County Arrest Report

Upcoming City Council Agenda For Tuesday


Here is the latest Hamilton County arrest report: AVERETTE, JAMES BRANDON 1300 WHOOTEN RD RINGGOLD, 30736 Age at Arrest: 29 years old Arresting Agency: Hamilton County Booked for Previous ... (click for more)

Here is the latest Hamilton County arrest report: ARNOLD, TRACY DARRYL 9517 LOT A BARBEE ROAD SODDY DASIY, 37379 Age at Arrest: 56 years old Arresting Agency: Hamilton County AGGRAVATED ... (click for more)

Here is the upcoming City Council agenda for Tuesday: I. Call to Order by Chairman Henderson. II. Pledge of Allegiance/Invocation (Chairman Henderson). III. Special Presentation. ... (click for more)



Breaking News

Latest Hamilton County Arrest Report

Here is the latest Hamilton County arrest report: AVERETTE, JAMES BRANDON 1300 WHOOTEN RD RINGGOLD, 30736 Age at Arrest: 29 years old Arresting Agency: Hamilton County Booked for Previous Charges or Other Reason(s) --- BALLARD, ANTHONY MONTREL 2401 Chamberlain Ave Chattanooga, 374043314 Age at Arrest: 34 years old Arresting Agency: Chattanooga DOMESTIC ASSAULT ... (click for more)

Latest Hamilton County Arrest Report

Here is the latest Hamilton County arrest report: ARNOLD, TRACY DARRYL 9517 LOT A BARBEE ROAD SODDY DASIY, 37379 Age at Arrest: 56 years old Arresting Agency: Hamilton County AGGRAVATED ASSAULT POSSESSION OF METHAMPHETAMINE FOR RESALE POSSESSION OF DRUG PARAPHERNALIA FAILURE TO APPEAR --- BENIBO, DAFIYA B 1615 LYNBROOK AVE CHATTANOOGA, 37404 Age at Arrest: ... (click for more)

Opinion

Don't Double The City Judge's Workload Or Cut Their Pay

Why would any City Council person want to double the work load of our wonderful city judge and cut her pay in half? The answer should be no, no, no. Ed Gravitte (click for more)

Why Mandates Are Ridiculous - And Response

Hamilton County COVID cases 62,525 Hamilton County COVID deaths 638 By my math 62525/638 = 0.012 percent 0.012 percent of people that got COVID died from it 99.988 percent survived including myself I just wanted to point out how ridiculous vaccine mandates really are and how COVID hysteria, driven by the media and federal government, is unwarranted. Vaccines reduce ... (click for more)

Sports

Tennessee Comeback Falls Short As Kiffin's Ole Miss Rebels Prevail, 31-26

Heisman candidate Matt Corral completed 21 of 38 passes for 231 yards and threw two touchdown passes, but the story of the night is what he did with his legs. Corral had a career-high 195 yards on the ground as Ole Miss silenced a hostile Tennessee crowd and left town with a wild 31-26 victory over the Volunteers. In total, Corral made up 426 of 510 total yards for the Rebels. ... (click for more)

Maxwell Leads Defense As Mocs Prevail, 21-16

Devonnsha Maxwell lined up shaded just outside the right tackle’s shoulder. He blasted out of his stance and knocked the Buccaneer blocker backward. Maxwell bent around the edge, lunged toward ETSU quarterback Tyler Riddell, and brought him to the ground for one of his three and a half drive-killing fourth quarter sacks. Maxwell’s school-record 4.5 sacks on the day was a UT-Chattanooga ... (click for more)