A proposed high-speed rail linking Atlanta to Charlotte, NC could pass through Jackson County with a potential rail station in Commerce.
While the idea is in the early stages, one of the routes considered for the project would have it parallel I-85 through Jackson County.
Another proposed route would have it go south along the Hwy. 316 corridor through Barrow County to Athens, then through the edge of Madison County into South Carolina.
A third route would have the rail go further north through Gainesville and Toccoa before entering South Carolina.
The project is currently in a Phase 1 environmental study and is being done by the Federal Railroad Administration.
"The exact alignments and routes for the termini of the alternatives have not yet been finalized and will be further defined in a future Tier II EIS; however, each of the alternatives will include service to downtown and airport stations in both Atlanta, GA and Charlotte, NC," says the FRA website about the project. "In particular, the project will consider connectivity between a downtown Atlanta passenger station and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in Atlanta, and between the proposed Charlotte Gateway Station and Charlotte-Douglas International Airport."
The project from Charlotte to Atlanta is an extension of a 1992 rail project for a system from Charlotte to Washington D.C. That link has not yet been completed.
The Georgia Department of Transportation is a partner in the project and is accepting public comments through Nov. 4 about the plans.
Comments about the project can be made online here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/AtlCha19
"Georgia DOT will base the preferred alternative decision on feedback and comments from the public and agencies, performance of each corridor alternative and the potential environmental impacts of each corridor alternative," states a GDOT website about the project.