Passenger train may blow through North Louisiana - KNOE 8 News; KNOE-TV; KNOE.com |

Passenger train may blow through North Louisiana

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MONROE, La (KNOE 8 News) - We have planes, and we have automobiles, but unfortunately here in Northeast Louisiana, none of us can travel by train.

For that reason, there's now a movement to bring back passenger trains to the area. The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development just secured hundreds of thousands of dollars for a feasibility study to see if a train is needed.

The trains running along the Interstate-20 corridor are used for transporting freight, not people. Now, state officials are thinking about bringing passenger trains back to North Louisiana. But first they are going to see if it will work. 

Executive Director of North Delta Regional Planning David Creed said many local government bodies have approved measures in support of a passenger train - the city of Ruston being the most recent.

"Initially, this will be a great help for people who need cheaper access to work and to school and to medical facilities," Creed said.

State Representative Katrina Jackson helped secure the 250-thousand dollars for the feasibility study and she said the money is well worth it.

"All the states that have Amtrak going through their states connecting with other states they have received a big economic boom," Jackson said. "So, it is a small investment for what we believe the study will show that will be a major economic impact on this state."

Creed says the study will determine over all costs, if new tracks are needed, the best location for stops and if people will use it.

"To interview people to determine the numbers of ridership, the number of industries, the number of employers interested in using it," Creed said.  

Creed says the short term goal is to bring economic development to the region. He says the long term goal is to offer a convenient mode of transportation from all points east to west.

The feasibility study is scheduled to begin in January, but it could take a few years before we see an Amtrak train blowing through Monroe.

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