The most talked-about project this week was a high-speed train that would connect Charlotte to Atlanta. Transportation experts said the rail would get people to and from both cities in about two hours, topping out at speeds over 220 mph. Passengers wouldn't have to worry about the headaches that come along with the airport or I-85.
"We need rail, and as this region continues to grow, we need to find ways to move people around," said Charlotte City Councilman Braxton Winston.
"As somebody who's gotten sick and tired of flying, I would probably be one of the first people to hop on it," said former Mecklenburg County Commissioner Jim Puckett. "But I don't think I want to pay for it."
Estimates for the project said it could come with a price tag ranging from $3 billion to $15 billion. And the train's path is still up in the air, with officials weighing three different layouts. One would basically follow I-85, another north of the highway, and a third route that runs south to Athens, Georgia before heading west into Atlanta. Ultimately, it comes down to efficiency, the environmental impact, and of course, the cost.
Puckett said he wants no part of the rail unless the federal government foots the bill. Winston believes it's important the city finds a way to make it happen.
"When it comes down to it, the most important investment we can make is in our people," Winston said. "As a government, you invest in your people predominantly through infrastructure, so we'll find a way to invest in our people and continue the growth of this city, this state and this region."
Officials behind the project are still asking for the public's feedback. If you were unable to attend a public meeting Thursday, you can leave comments online here until November 4.