Atlanta to Charlotte
Passenger Rail Corridor Investment Plan

As part of the Atlanta to Charlotte Passenger Rail Corridor Investment Plan (PRCIP), the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) are conducting a Tier 1 Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the extension of the Southeast High Speed Rail (SEHSR) corridor from Charlotte, North Carolina to Atlanta, Georgia. The vision of the SEHSR Corridor is to develop an integrated passenger rail transportation solution for the Southeast, including proposed high-speed rail from Washington, DC through Richmond, VA and Charlotte and Raleigh, NC, and from Charlotte to Atlanta, Georgia.

Passenger Rail Corridor Investment Plan

The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requires federal agencies to assess the environmental effects of their proposed actions prior to making decisions. FRA determined that a tiered NEPA process is appropriate for a project of this scale, as tiering involves a staged environmental review process applied to complex projects covering large geographic areas. This Tier 1 EIS establishes the Purpose and Need for the Project; provides a broad assessment of the potential transportation, social, economic, and environmental impacts of Corridor Alternatives for the Project; and presents the outcomes of public and agency coordination. The Tier 1 EIS also identifies general locations for potential stations; and discusses potential train technology, speed, and frequency necessary to support the Purpose and Need of the Project.

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The Atlanta to Charlotte Passenger Rail Corridor Investment Plan (PRCIP) is an extension of the Southeast High-Speed Rail Corridor (SEHSR), which is under development from Charlotte to Washington, D.C. The extension from Charlotte, would travel southeast through portions of South Carolina and into Atlanta. The exact termini of route alternatives will address connectivity to proposed and existing passenger rail stations, airports and other regional transportation services along the corridor. In particular, the project will consider connectivity to the proposed Georgia Multi Modal Passenger Terminal (MMPT) and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (H-JAIA) in Atlanta, and the proposed Charlotte Gateway Station and Charlotte-Douglas International Airport in Charlotte.

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Study Area Map 
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The projected increases in population and economic growth for the Piedmont Atlantic Megaregion create a need for a carefully planned approach to improving rail infrastructure that will benefit Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, the southeastern United States and the nation.

Intercity passenger rail is available for business and non-business travelers that is competitive with other modes of travel in terms of travel time, convenience and safety. The proposed Atlanta to Charlotte intercity passenger rail service would satisfy the following needs:

  • Provide Regional Linkage Improve overall regional connectivity by providing an intercity passenger rail linkage between Atlanta and Charlotte and other proposed SEHSR locations, as well as enhance multimodal transportation connections;
  • Improve Capacity Supplement Interstate highways and commercial airports to provide increased corridor capacity to support passenger movement;
  • Improve Travel Times Decrease travel times between major urban centers compared to auto and total air travel;
  • Provide an Alternative Mode Provide an alternate choice for travelers to automobile, bus, conventional rail and air travel that is safe, reliable and efficient;
  • Enhance Energy Efficiency Improve energy efficiency by reducing dependence on foreign oil and decreasing greenhouse gas emissions; and
  • Promote Economic Development Promote economic development and job creation through improved con¬nectivity resulting in a more productive and competi¬tive economy with an expansion of the labor pool market along the corridor.
  • Traveler Safety Potential to lower the incidence of auto fatalities within the Study Area.


The purpose of the Atlanta to Charlotte PRCIP is to improve intercity travel and mobility between Atlanta and Charlotte by expanding the regions transportation capacity and reliable mode choices through improvements in passenger rail services.

This corridor will also be an important extension to the planned SEHSR Corridor system developing important linkages to other metropolitan areas along the East Coast (Washington, D.C.; New York; and Boston). Investment in passenger rail is an essential part of the regions multimodal transportation system and its ability to support population and economic growth throughout the SEHSR Corridor network.

The figure below outlines the NEPA process for a Tier 1 environmental review.

NEPA Process 

The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) identified the route from Atlanta to Charlotte as an intercity passenger rail corridor in the proposed Southeast High Speed Rail (SEHSR) network. The USDOT and state departments of transportation have proposed the SEHSR as part of a plan to create a nationwide passenger rail network.

The figure below shows the history of the SEHSR Corridor including the Atlanta to Charlotte portion of the corridor.

Corridor History 

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Please send your questions and comments to the following representatives:

GDOT Contact

Kaycee Mertz, AICP
Rail Planning Manager
Georgia Department of Transportation
Division of Intermodal
600 West Peachtree Street, NW
Atlanta, GA 30308

GDOT Contact

Natalie Dale
Media & Government Relations
Georgia Department of Transportation
600 West Peachtree Street, NW
Atlanta, GA 30308

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