Residents excited about high speed rail?

RALEIGH For the most part, people at the meeting showed their support for the plan and what it could mean for downtown Raleigh.

"Very excited, it's going to be great," Boylan Bridge Brew Pub Owner Andrew Leager said.

The project is called the Southeast High Speed Rail, also known as "SEHSR." It would eventually run from Charlotte to Washington and would include stops in both Raleigh and Richmond.

Leager says the project would place Raleigh among top-tier cities and boost business at his pub.

"There's going to be city buses, they'll be Greyhound buses, there'll be cars there will be all sorts of things coming down there," he said.

The rail project Leager is raving about would build upon existing rail lines as much as possible. Under the proposal, no roads would cross the tracks at the same elevation to ensure safety, but that could result in the closure of some roads -- an idea opposed by several Raleigh residents.

"We ask that you look into tunneling," Raleigh resident Jim Belt said. "Tunneling across Jones Street on the tracks that run parallel to Glenwood south and yes that's an expensive option, but this is a long-term decision."

"I think we can have it all," Leager said. "I think we can have high speed rail, I think we can have our streets open, I think we can have good pedestrianism all up and down."

The project will cost between $2.1 and $2.3 billion. Depending on funding, the construction could start as early as 2013.

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