The Georgia Department of Transportation began seeking bids last week for a feasibility study for a high-speed rail line between Atlanta and Columbus, Ga. Interested consulting firms have until Sept. 21 to submit their bids.
The project has received strong backing from Columbus city officials, who will also oversee the new study along with the Federal Railroad Administration. Those in Columbus envision a new rail line as a direct connection to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. Such a link might also allow the possibility of creating a second airport in the city for metropolitan Atlanta.
High-speed rail has long been thought impractical in the Southeast, due to the distance between major cities of the region. Another recent study by Georgia DOT and state agencies in Alabama, Tennessee and Kentucky, however, suggests that such a transit system could be made to work.
The study is expected to cost approximately $300,000.