City Gets $500,000 Grant For Study Of Amtrak Service Connecting Atlanta, Chattanooga And Nashville

  • Tuesday, December 5, 2023

The city of Chattanooga has been awarded a $500,000 federal grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Corridor ID Program to fund a comprehensive study to develop the scope, the cost, engineering, and other requirements needed to establish Amtrak passenger rail service on existing alignments between Nashville, Chattanooga, and Atlanta. Officials said Memphis is also included.

The grant, which the city of Chattanooga applied for earlier this year, puts the Tier 1 priority passenger rail project into the federal government’s development pipeline and moves the region’s residents closer to realizing enhanced intercity rail connectivity, officials said.

Mayor Tim Kelly said, “This is a huge step forward for an idea we’ve been pushing for from City Hall since Day 1 of my administration. Passenger rail is an important piece of the multimodal mobility goals we’ve laid out, and this award shows the broad support for and momentum behind our vision of reconnecting us to other major Southern cities by bringing passenger rail back to Chattanooga.

“There aren’t many places in America whose history is as closely tied to rail travel as Chattanooga’s, and today’s announcement is a promising sign that the railroad will continue to be an important part of our future. I’m very thankful for the bipartisan support of our federal delegation, from the mayors of Nashville and Atlanta, and for the many partners and tremendous amount of work that went into submitting our successful application for this grant.”
The award puts Chattanooga into the Corridor ID Program’s “Step 1,” which initiates the grantee's Corridor development efforts under the Program by preparing a scope, schedule, and cost estimate for developing an Service Development Plan (SDP) for the corridor. Step 1 also includes the grant recipient's development of its capability and capacity (including securing initial staff, contractor support, and non-Federal financial resources) necessary to support successfully preparing the SDP and conducting Step 3 activities, as appropriate. With the support of these initial resources, the grantee will work in collaboration with the Federal Railroad Administration to develop a scope, schedule, and cost estimate for preparing an SDP.

The Corridor ID Program is a comprehensive intercity passenger rail planning and development program that will help guide intercity passenger rail development throughout the country and create a pipeline of intercity passenger rail projects ready for Implementation. Unlike previous Federal intercity passenger rail planning efforts, the Corridor ID Program is intended both to support a sustained long-term development effort, and to set forth a capital project pipeline ready for Federal (and other) funding. The Corridor ID Program is intended to become the primary means for directing federal financial support and technical assistance toward the development of proposals for new or improved intercity passenger rail services throughout the United States.

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