Amtrak announces progression on passenger rail along I-20 corridor
MONROE, La. (KNOE) - The passenger rail in NELA has taken a step forward. Amtrak announced it will seek federal funds to determine the feasibility of a line along the I-20 Corridor. Amtrak says, “If it produces a sufficient business case,” they will “seek federal capital to initiate the service.”
The Southern Rail Commission (SRC) hosted stakeholders and officials from Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida in New Orleans for the commission’s quarterly stakeholder meeting. During the meeting, the SRC and Amtrak announced key project milestones for the passenger rail project within the I-20 corridor and along the Gulf Coast.
“This is another example of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act paying off for Louisiana. The partnership between Amtrak, the Southern Rail Commission, Mayors Walker, Ellis, and Arceneaux connects north Louisiana cities with all points East and West,” said Senator Bill Cassidy.
The cities of Monroe, Ruston and Vicksburg have been working in collaboration since Nov. 2022 to advance the passenger rail project.
Amtrak announced it will lead the Federal-State Partnership Program application for the I-20 corridor to submit to the FRA in April 2023. This application will help the extension of the passenger rail service from Meridian, MS to Dallas/Fort Worth.
“This has the potential to be the first new Amtrak service of its kind in more than 25 years and it would come in an area that has long been underserved by passenger rail”, said SRC Chairman Knox Ross. “Now that we have a way forward for new state-sponsored corridor service between New Orleans and Mobile, the I-20 route has been identified by the SRC as its next priority.”
Amtrak is also running familiarization trips for the highly anticipated return of passenger rail service between New Orleans and Mobile. Representatives from the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (LADOTD) discussed federal funds the state is currently pursuing to advance the Baton Rouge to New Orleans Passenger Rail project. The state has hired consultants to conduct federally required environmental studies along the route.
While LADOTD is developing the Corridor Identification and Development Program application for this project, Transportation for America and the SRC are leading application development for the New Orleans to Mobile, Meridian to Dallas/Fort Worth, and the Shreveport to Baton Rouge corridors.
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