:   Chattanooga city leaders are developing a new vision for navigating the city and it takes us back to our roots.  City Council gave the city the a thumb's up to pursue a 400-thousand dollar grant for a light rail system.

The proposed route would run from downtown to the airport and Enterprise South.   There would also be a south loop down Highway 27.

Officials estimate a $35 million price tag to build the project.  The study would explore the economic impact on the city, including job growth and a boost in tourism.


Chattanooga City Council voted eight to one to fund a light rail train study for the city.

The proposed light rail system would run from downtown to the airport and Enterprise South. There would also be a south loop that runs down Highway 27.

The Transportation Department asked City Council to give the Mayor's office the green light to apply for a $700,000 federal grant. The city would have to contribute $300,000.

The grant would fund a light-rail study, expected to go from August of this year to April of next year. The department says Chattanooga already has a leg up because of existing rail lines and it would provide better access to jobs. However, at Tuesday afternoon's agenda session, some council members voiced concerns about overall cost.

"There's a give and take and there's a balance," said Transportation Director Blythe Bailey. "I think in this case, this is a community where train service would be incredibly impactful. Especially given the infrastructure that's available and the communities that would be positively impacted by the train service because of where it happens to be. I think relatively speaking, and it is expensive, rail service, but relatively speaking this would affordable as it relates to other rail projects."

Bailey gave a rough estimate for the project, which would most likely be built in two phases. He says the Enterprise South line would cost around $20 million and the south loop $15 million.