Grant money could help passenger trains return to Gulf Coast

Grant money recently approved by Congress could help passenger trains see a comeback along the U.S. Gulf Coast between Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana.

Posted: Apr 1, 2018 11:41 PM

GULFPORT, Miss. (AP) — Grant money recently approved by Congress could help passenger trains see a comeback along the U.S. Gulf Coast between Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana.

The $1.3 trillion spending bill that will keep the federal government operating through September includes grant money that would aid plans to restore passenger train service between New Orleans and Mobile, Alabama, The Sun Herald reported.

"We have a unique opportunity," said Knox Ross, vice chairman of the Southern Rail Commission.

Ross said the two-year, $20 million grant would require a 50-percent match from participating states. The commission's goal is to have two trains each day, one in the morning and another in the afternoon. That would allow passengers to make day trips to stroll through New Orleans, visit museums in Mobile or play at the casinos on the Mississippi coast.

Amtrak's service along the Gulf Coast between Florida and Louisiana ended after Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005. Ross says the rail commission is pushing to see service restored all the way to Orlando. But its short-term priority is passenger trains running between Alabama and Louisiana.

Ross says the shorter route would have advantages, such as giving more control to ensure trains are on time. Special event stops could also be added, he said, at stations in smaller cities that aren't regular stops on the route.

It would cost Mississippi $20 million, spread out over four years, to take advantage of the federal grant, Ross said. The funds possibly could come from Restore Act money directed to the Gulf Coast from the BP oil spill fine.

"This brings the people you need to you," Ross told business owners at meeting of the GulfCoast Business Council.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 145636

Reported Deaths: 3745
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto963299
Hinds9584195
Harrison6848109
Jackson6124118
Rankin528598
Lee484295
Madison4633105
Forrest368186
Jones345287
Lauderdale3350143
Lafayette315049
Washington3097107
Lamar281849
Oktibbeha239261
Bolivar239083
Lowndes228863
Neshoba2164115
Panola211749
Marshall208350
Leflore200890
Pontotoc194728
Monroe190277
Sunflower189755
Lincoln186165
Warren172257
Tate164251
Union160925
Pike160458
Copiah158940
Yazoo151239
Scott150229
Itawamba147634
Coahoma147443
Pearl River144467
Simpson144253
Alcorn143925
Prentiss140429
Grenada136945
Adams136548
Leake131843
Holmes124961
George122224
Tippah121530
Covington117636
Winston116624
Wayne115823
Hancock114139
Marion111046
Attala107833
Tishomingo106142
Newton102729
Chickasaw102432
Tallahatchie95527
Clarke88553
Clay87027
Jasper81122
Walthall75028
Stone72414
Montgomery71925
Calhoun71613
Carroll70614
Lawrence70214
Yalobusha69427
Noxubee69217
Smith68816
Perry65225
Tunica59619
Greene58422
Claiborne57416
Jefferson Davis54217
Humphreys52618
Amite51214
Benton48417
Quitman4796
Webster42014
Kemper40917
Wilkinson38622
Jefferson33811
Franklin3235
Choctaw3077
Sharkey30617
Issaquena1114
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 236865

Reported Deaths: 3472
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson31043491
Mobile19446360
Tuscaloosa12684150
Madison12528146
Montgomery12122235
Shelby992276
Baldwin837684
Lee759765
Morgan626247
Calhoun6049113
Etowah600564
Marshall596153
Houston510838
DeKalb469635
Cullman421136
Limestone408844
St. Clair403955
Elmore398961
Lauderdale387253
Walker356199
Talladega339044
Jackson302524
Colbert297641
Blount282236
Autauga266139
Franklin246233
Coffee236615
Dale228454
Dallas222331
Russell21923
Chilton218537
Covington215933
Escambia196931
Tallapoosa171790
Chambers171448
Pike156014
Clarke155319
Marion135535
Winston126623
Lawrence123936
Geneva11848
Pickens117618
Marengo117424
Barbour116710
Bibb115717
Butler114341
Randolph100321
Cherokee99624
Hale93231
Washington89918
Clay89623
Fayette86216
Henry8436
Lowndes78929
Monroe77911
Cleburne75614
Macon71720
Crenshaw70330
Bullock69019
Conecuh68214
Perry6726
Lamar6337
Wilcox62818
Sumter56222
Choctaw41813
Greene41317
Coosa3144
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