Conversations about implementing an Amtrak line in the Scenic City have been going on before the pandemic. 

"We don't know yet how much the overhead plan would cost, and that's exactly what this first step is about," said Joda Thongnopnua, Mayor Kelly's Chief of Staff.

Money for the rail system would come from the Corridor and Development I.D. program, part of 2021's Bi-partisan infrastructure Law.

Thongnopnua believes Mayor Tim Kelly's Climate Action plan will make a half-million dollar grant accessible.

"The Federal Railroad Administration has put this program out, and it's really designed to identify new Amtrak corridors or rail corridors around the country," said Thongnopnua.

The Mayor's stated goals with the plan are to preserve and protect the city's natural resources and reduce carbon emissions by 2050.

"You ask people why they come here, they will point out the window, the rivers, and the mountains, and the trees," said Chattanooga Mayor Tim Kelly.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, train systems like Amtrak are better for the environment than cars.

"The technology is coming and the industry is following it quickly," said the Mayor.

This is one reason it's gaining interest from major cities like Nashville and Atlanta wanting to go green.

The thought is, the train could help alleviate heavy traffic in areas like interstate I-24 at the I-75 split, an area where many drivers have to pack their patience.

"Having alternative ways to get around our region takes more cars off the road and that obviously leads to a carbon reduction," the Chief of Staff said.

Thongnopnua says cleaner energy and the Mayor's plan will improve our quality of life. 

"Not only is this more convenient for residents across our community, but it's also a win for our economy, connecting more of our residents to jobs."

Conversations on the Mayors Climate plan is still in the early stages. We hope to learn more at the Public Hearing set for March 21st.

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