Monroe City Council adopts resolution to support Amtrak expansion in Monroe
MONROE, La. (KNOE) - Could people in Monroe soon take trains to cities like Dallas and Atlanta?
The Monroe City Council adopted a resolution supporting Amtrak expansion in the city Tuesday.
“What we have been attempting to do for more than a decade is establish passenger rail across the South,” said I-20 Corridor Council Chairman, Judge Richard Anderson.
The proposed line would run from Fort Worth, Texas, to Atlanta, Georgia, with stops in Shreveport, Ruston, and Monroe.
“Being the population hub along that line on I-20 between us and Shreveport, there is an excellent opportunity for this to happen in Monroe,” Monroe Mayor Friday Ellis told KNOE.
The proposed expansion along Interstate 20 is much needed, according to Anderson.
“Interstate 20, which was built back in the late 60s, they have not substantially expanded the capacity of that over the last 60 years,” Anderson explained.
Anderson says the recent passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (Bipartisan Infrastructure Law) means now is a perfect time.
“There is $16 billion, billion with a B, to promote Amtrak’s regional rail,” Amtrak explained.
Anderson says it would cost under $100 million to renovate the existing track, currently owned by freight rail companies. Mayor Ellis says the line would be good for business.
“We see on the East and West Coast people use Amtrak and these type rails to get to and from work,” Ellis said. “This opens up and expands our work pool and people who can get to Monroe faster and quicker.”
However, Ellis says there is one challenge. Ensuring passenger rail doesn’t dilute demand for flights at the Monroe Regional Airport.
“We wanted to ensure that this will also work well with our airport,” Ellis told KNOE.
“Something that we can protect our flights coming in and out of Monroe, but to figure out how we can work together to work with Amtrak to grow all forms of transportation in the city as well.”
Ellis and Anderson say the line will also increase tourism revenue. They say the project could be complete in the next two to five years.
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