Tennessee Committee OKs Amtrak feasibility Study

A Tennessee legislative committee has approved a bill authorizing a study of the launching Amtrak service between Atlanta and Nashville, Tennessee.

The bill will fund a feasibility study to determine how much the service would cost and who would pay for it.

During a hearing earlier, an Amtrak government affairs executive told Tennessee lawmakers that state and local governments would be expected to underwrite any operating losses of the service.

Amtrak has been touting in the past year corridor services between unserved or underserved urban centers.

The website Curbed Atlanta reported that Tennessee Rep. Jason Powell said the Amtrak service would provide a crucial connection between the fast-growing cities, with possible stops in Chattanooga, Tullahoma, and Murfreessboro.

“This corridor is one of those where it’s just glaring that there’s not a connection on the map,” Powell said.

However, he acknowledged that if the study determines the service would be costly “that might lessen the enthusiasm, but I think the appetite is there.”

It is not clear if Amtrak has approached Georgia lawmakers about supporting the proposed service.

A Georgia Department of Transportation spokesperson told Curbed Atlanta it has “not been approached by Amtrak at this time.”

However, the agency has been working on a proposal for high-speed rail service between Atlanta and Charlotte, North Carolina, and, eventually, Washington.

Atlanta is served by Amtrak’s New York-New Orleans Crescent but Nashville has not had Amtrak service since the October 1970 discontinuance of Chicago-Miami/St. Petersburg Floridian.

The proposed Atlanta-Nashville corridor would have multiple trains a day operating with a six-and-a-half hour running time.

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