$178M Awarded to Expand Gulf Coast Passenger Rail Service

NEW ORLEANS — The Federal Railroad Administration has announced it will provide a grant totaling more than $178 million to help restore passenger rail service along the Mississippi Gulf Coast, which has been suspended since 2005. The money will be spent improving tracks and building a new platform in Mobile, Ala. 

The award was made possible by yearly appropriations and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. Overall, the federal government plans to spend $66 billion on passenger rail.

“I am thrilled to announce this $178.4 million federal grant to restore passenger rail service along the Mississippi Gulf Coast,” said U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss, in a press release. “This is a significant milestone, representing years of dedicated efforts to reconnect our communities after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. Restoring passenger rail service will create jobs, improve quality of life, and offer a convenient travel option for tourists, contributing to our region’s economic growth and vitality. I appreciate the work of all who have worked tirelessly to bring this project to this point. I look forward to getting this plan across the finish line in the near future with the support of our state and local officials.”

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The Federal Railroad Administration decision means Gulf Coast passenger rail service could come as soon as the first quarter of 2024. Last year, Amtrak forged an agreement with CSX Transportation, Norfolk Southern Corp. and the Port of Mobile to pave the way for freight and passenger trains to share tracks on the Gulf Coast corridor. 

The FRA, meanwhile, denied a $108 million grant application for the long-sought New Orleans-Baton Rouge passenger rail line.

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