CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) - The plan to develop a high speed rail system from Atlanta to Nashville took a step forward Monday.

Transportation officials in Georgia announced they have applied for  $34 million in funding to continue development of high-speed rail service from Atlanta to Chattanooga, then continuing to Nashville and Louisville.

Earlier this summer, the Federal Railroad Administration said states could apply for federal funds under the US High Speed Intercity Passenger Rail program created by Congress last year.  Funds would be used to plan and implement high-speed service along approved corridors.

"Even before the federal High Speed Rail program was announced last year, Georgia DOT was already planning several related projects such as the Atlanta-Chattanooga High-Speed Ground Transportation Project and the downtown Atlanta Multi-Modal Passenger Terminal," Georgia Department of Transportation Commissioner Vance C. Smith said in release. "We expect to fit right in."

With federal approval, Georgia DOT and Tennessee DOT say they would "continue environmental planning and engineering between Atlanta and Chattanooga, design approved stations along the corridor, and create a comprehensive plan for high-speed service to the public that could one day stretch from Florida to Chicago."

Last year, TDOT Commissioner Gerald Nicely secured $14 million in federal funds for the Atlanta to Chattanooga High-Speed Ground Transport Project.