High speed rail could be a reality in the Midlands - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

High speed rail could be a reality in the Midlands


It's a new form of transportation, with an old twist and the Midlands could get a stop on the tracks. There is a plan to connect Atlanta to Charlotte with a high speed rail system. One of the proposed routes includes a stop in Columbia.

The plan has bus riders like Kelly McCants very interested. She was in Columbia Thursday afternoon from Greenville. After a short stop at the bus station, she was off to Florence.

Taking the bus was an easy choice, for her. She says it's was cheaper than buying gas. Though she says if there was the option, she might have ridden the rails in to town.

"Probably so, depends on how much it cost," said McCants.

In the next 15-20 years a commuter high speed rail line between Atlanta and Charlotte could be a reality.

Now there's talk you could be able to get aboard in Columbia. A coalition of state transportation planners in South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, and several other southern states are rolling the plan forward. The federal government has already committed millions of dollars, funding research for the project.

Richland County Council Chairman Kelvin Washington says the would be an economic boost  for the Midlands. He's says if Columbia wants a stop, the area has to blow the horn.

"We need it here," said Washington. "It only makes sense to put it here. But we need to articulate that to the ones making the decisions."

McCants says having the option of a quick ride on the train would be nice.

"If it's short and quicker than using the bus, or the Amtrak, and cheaper," said McCants.

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