After years of study, three possible routes have been identified for a high-speed rail line between Chattanooga and Atlanta.
One route follows closely the I-75 corridor, while a second would veer to the east and include Chatsworth, Ga. A third would have a connection to Rome, Ga.
The Georgia Department of Transportation study says following closely to I-75 is the shortest route at 128 miles between the Atlanta and Chattanooga airports. It also would be the quickest at 88 minutes.
The East Route would be 139 miles and take 95 minutes.
Including Rome would bring the length to 150 miles and the time to 102 minutes. However, it would draw the most riders - 13,204 per day. The I-75 route would have 11,725 daily commuters and the East Route would have the least at 8,556.
The I-75 route would cost $8.76 billion to build. The Rome route would be $9.81 billion. The East Route is $10.42 billion.
Officials said following closely to I-75 is the "highest performing" route.
Officials said, with the population between the two cities growing rapidly, that I-75 is expected to be above capacity by 2030. Traffic on alternative routes, including Highways 411, 41 and 27, is also set to be above capacity within 30 years.
The study said highways between the two cities are already near capacity during commuting hours.
Three public drop-in hearings have been set on the study, including one in Chattanooga at the Development Resource Center on Market Street on Nov. 16 from 6 to 8 p.m.
One will be Nov. 15 in Atlanta and a third will be Nov. 17 at Dalton on 300 W. Waugh St.
Officials said the train could be steel rail or Mag Lev. Speeds would be in the range of 180 miles per hour.
The I-75 route would follow the freeway to south of a proposed new Atlanta train station near Cumberland Mall/Galleria.. It would go underground to connect to the Atlanta Airport. There would be stations at Atlanta Town Center, Cartersville and Dalton.
The I-75 route would be the least damaging to parkland and environmentally sensitive areas.
There would also be a new station built in Chattanooga with park and ride facilities as well as facilities for maintenance and track for extra car storage.
The study has been ongoing since 2007.
Written comments may be provided to Ariel Hacker, project manager, Division of Intermodal, Georgia DOT, 600 W. Peachtree St. NW, 16th Floor, Atlanta, Ga., 30308. The deadline is Nov. 22.
Click here to read the Georgia Department of Transportation study.