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Athens Could Get High-Speed Rail

Forget driving. Forget airport hassles. One day, you might be able to hop on a train at the Multimodal Center and ride 110 miles per hour to New Orleans, Houston, Washington, DC, New York or Boston.


A high-speed rail corridor is already under development between Charlotte, NC, and Washington, DC. Now, the Georgia Department of Transportation and the Federal Railroad Administration is considering the feasibility of extending it from Charlotte to Atlanta.

There are six proposed routes. Two would run south from Charlotte through Columbia, SC, to Augusta, then along I-20 to Atlanta. Three would run north of Athens through Greenville, SC, and Suwanee, then along I-85, following the Southern Crescent route. But one would run through Greenwood, SC, to Athens, and from Athens, roughly follow the path of the Brain Train through Lawrenceville and Tucker into Atlanta.


No public hearings are scheduled in Athens, but if you want to make the hour-long trek to Suwanee, there will be one at 4 p.m. Tuesday, June 4 in the Suwanee City Council chamber, 323 Buford Highway. Or you can find contact information here.

A note of caution: Don’t expect this to happen anytime soon. The Obama Administration put $8 billion for high-speed rail in the 2009 stimulus package, enough to build just a small fraction of the proposed lines. California’s network, which is the furthest along, isn’t expected to be completed until 2028.