MARIETTA, Ga. — High-speed trains would whisk passengers from Atlanta's airport to Charlotte at speeds of up to 220 mph.

Public input was being sought on the three proposed routes this month.

Travel times for the proposed routes vary, with the fastest one taking somewhere between about two hours and 2 hours and 45 minutes.

That fastest option would operate at top speed for the longest duration and travel through Athens, Ga., and Anderson in the South Carolina Upstate before reaching Charlotte.

All three proposed routes would go through Greenville, also in South Carolina, The Marietta Daily Journal reported.

The high-speed trains are far from reality, and officials must still determine whether the plan is even feasible.

The document detailing the proposed routes "is a key part of the process that helps us and the Federal Railroad Administration determine how feasible a project like this really is," Georgia Department of Transportation spokesman Scott Higley said.

Rapid population growth in Atlanta, Charlotte and Greenville will make the project necessary, according to the planning document.

There are considerable differences in the three routes under consideration:

  • The lowest-cost option — an estimated $2 billion — is also the slowest. The "Southern Crescent," would run on the existing Amtrak line with stops at Gainesville, Ga., and Clemson. It would include about a dozen total stops, and trips would take about five hours.
  • A route along Interstate 85 would be the most expensive, costing $13 billion to $15 billion. Trips would take about two hours and 45 minutes.
  • The third option — the "Greenfield Corridor" through Athens — would cost between $6 billion and $8 billion. It would be the fastest route, reaching speeds of up to 220 mph.

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Contact John McDermott at 843-937-5572 or follow him on Twitter at @byjohnmcdermott