Gulf Coast passenger rail service discussion gets back on track

    Talks of restoring passenger rail service to the Gulf Coast are back, NBC 15 News-TV reports.

    Mississippi Southern Rail Commissioner Knox Ross says he feels confident Mississippi will be able to put up $14 million to help restore Amtrak service between Mobile and New Orleans. The railway service was halted following Hurricane Katrina.

    “We have found good support for it,” Ross says. “While nothing is ensured until you get things signed, I think there’s a lot of support from the people needed to make it happen.”

    He says they’ll know in the next month or two and once the service is operational, he says there will be stops in Bay St. Louis, Gulfport, Biloxi and Pascagoula, and potentially Mobile.

    The discussion about restoring Amtrack service from New Orleans eastward is resurfacing just a few months after Baton Rouge area transportation officials decided not to apply for a federal grant to help fund a proposed $260 million Baton Rouge-to-New Orleans passenger rail because Louisiana could not come up with matching funds. The Baton Rouge-to-New Orleans rail would be more costly than the former Amtrack service because it would have to be built from scratch.

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