First steps being made to develop high speed rail line - WBRC FOX6 News - Birmingham, AL

First steps being made to develop high speed rail line

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) – Birmingham is hoping to travel in the fast lane, at least to Atlanta.  A feasibility study will begin in July and will last about a year. It will determine if a high speed train service will work between Birmingham and Atlanta. "Where it should run? What type of technology it should use? Whether you should use existing tracks or use an entire new set of track?" Charles Ball of the Regional Planning Commission of Greater Birmingham said.
           
The yearlong study will cost $500,000. Georgia will pay $375,000. Northfolk Southern Railroad and the Planning Commission will pay $125,000. Mayor William Bell says the study is important to Birmingham's future. "Mass transportation is going to be key to our economic future, to our energy future and our future of getting here to there," Bell said.
            
The group admits other states such as California, Florida and the Carolinas have a jump on Birmingham. Still supporters say it will benefit all of Alabama."It not only includes routes between Birmingham and Atlanta, but includes Huntsville and Montgomery and Mobile."Rep. Rod Scott of Fairfield said.

The cost of building a high speed rail system is expected to be costly. Most hope the federal government will fit most of the bill but others hope the state of Alabama and local governments will contribute.

"I'm not saying that. You know our condition. It will have so much economic benefit for the county," Jefferson Co. Commissioner Bettye Fine Collins said.

Copyright 2010 WBRC. All rights reserved.

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