Huntsville leaders track possibilities of light rail - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Huntsville leaders track possibilities of light rail

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Light rail has proved popular in metropolitan and mid-size communities. (Source: MGN) Light rail has proved popular in metropolitan and mid-size communities. (Source: MGN)

Huntsville city leaders are tossing around the idea of building a light rail or train service.

Riding the rails is becoming popular in major metropolitan metro areas, but mid-size cities such as Chattanooga are also considering them.

Discussions are still in the early stages, but Huntsville's Manager of Urban and Long-Range Planning, Dennis Madsen, said the City of Huntsville's Urban Planning Department has discussed light rail and other transportation options as the city continues to show major growth.

This comes on the heels of Tuesday's meeting between Huntsville city leaders and residents over what to do with Ditto Landing and the Huntsville riverfront.

One of the most discussed ideas out of that meeting is to start a trolley service between Downtown Huntsville and the river. There is already an existing railway. City leaders said they will explore all transportation options including putting in new roads.

They said a train transit system is something that takes years to plan for and then construct.

"I think at the very least right now, we want to say where would it go and how would it impact development," said Madsen. "Even if we can't fund it for 10, 15, 20 years, at least start setting aside the right-of-way, start getting plans together."

Madsen said this isn't just a transportation issue. He said it's also an economic development issue, and installing a transit system helps Huntsville stay competitive in the global market.

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