Chattanooga Mayor Tim Kelly is thrilled to announce that the City of Chattanooga has earned a $500,000 federal grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Corridor ID Program to fund a comprehensive study to develop the scope, the cost, engineering, and other requirements needed to establish new passenger rail service on existing alignments along the Atlanta-Chattanooga-Nashville-Memphis Corridor. The grant, which the City of Chattanooga applied for earlier this year, puts the project into the federal government’s development pipeline and moves the Tennessee’s residents closer to realizing enhanced intercity rail connectivity. 

“This is a huge step forward for an idea we’ve been pushing for from City Hall since Day 1 of my administration. Passenger rail is an important piece of the multimodal mobility goals we’ve laid out, and this award shows the broad support for and momentum behind our vision of reconnecting us to other major Southern cities by bringing passenger rail back to Chattanooga,” said Mayor Tim Kelly. “There aren’t many places in America whose history is as closely tied to rail travel as Chattanooga’s, and today’s announcement is a promising sign that the railroad will continue to be an important part of our future. I’m very thankful for the bipartisan support of our federal delegation, from the mayors of Memphis, Nashville, and Atlanta, and for the many partners and tremendous amount of work that went into submitting our successful application for this grant.”

The award puts Chattanooga into the Corridor ID Program’s “Step 1,” which initiates the grantee’s Corridor development efforts under the Program by preparing a scope, schedule, and cost estimate for developing an Service Development Plan (SDP) for the corridor. Step 1 also includes the grant recipient’s development of its capability and capacity (including securing initial staff, contractor support, and non-Federal financial resources) necessary to support successfully preparing the SDP and conducting Step 3 activities, as appropriate. With the support of these initial resources, the grantee will work in collaboration with the Federal Railroad Administration to develop a scope, schedule, and cost estimate for preparing an SDP.


The Corridor ID Program is a comprehensive intercity passenger rail planning and development program that will help guide intercity passenger rail development throughout the country and create a pipeline of intercity passenger rail projects ready for Implementation. Unlike previous Federal intercity passenger rail planning efforts, the Corridor ID Program is intended both to support a sustained long-term development effort, and to set forth a capital project pipeline ready for Federal (and other) funding. The Corridor ID Program is intended to become the primary means for directing Federal financial support and technical assistance toward the development of proposals for new or improved intercity passenger rail services throughout the United States.

In June of 2023, the Tennessee Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations identified intercity passenger rail connectivity between Memphis, Nashville, Chattanooga, and Atlanta as priority opportunities to help increase connectivity, facilitate tourism and other economic development initiatives in Tennessee, and to supplement existing public and private-sector efforts to address the state’s transportation needs. Intercity passenger rail connects passengers to destinations in different metropolitan areas, best suiting the needs of those traveling medium to long distances.