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: 331863

Reported Deaths: 7494
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto22855279
Hinds22625437
Harrison19462326
Rankin14765286
Jackson14233251
Madison10658227
Lee10398178
Jones8713169
Forrest8164157
Lauderdale7528243
Lowndes6761150
Lamar665988
Lafayette6446124
Washington5497139
Bolivar4907134
Pearl River4889149
Oktibbeha476898
Panola4719112
Marshall4648106
Warren4612125
Pontotoc438873
Monroe4243137
Union424379
Neshoba4179180
Lincoln4088115
Hancock402788
Leflore3562125
Pike3511111
Tate348988
Alcorn343174
Sunflower342293
Adams331987
Yazoo330573
Scott330175
Simpson313690
Copiah311467
Itawamba309580
Coahoma308285
Tippah298368
Prentiss292563
Covington280183
Marion278980
Leake277975
Wayne269942
Grenada265688
George259851
Newton256064
Tishomingo235769
Winston235084
Jasper225748
Attala220373
Chickasaw215960
Stone209137
Holmes194974
Clay191554
Tallahatchie181542
Clarke181480
Calhoun177332
Smith175334
Yalobusha169240
Walthall140448
Lawrence137026
Greene134934
Amite131843
Noxubee131135
Perry130838
Montgomery130644
Carroll124531
Webster116732
Jefferson Davis112934
Tunica110827
Benton104425
Claiborne104231
Kemper100329
Humphreys99033
Franklin85923
Quitman83519
Choctaw80919
Wilkinson73232
Jefferson69028
Sharkey51518
Issaquena1696
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 565510

Reported Deaths: 11468
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson828061584
Mobile44938853
Madison36534532
Tuscaloosa26589465
Shelby26409255
Montgomery25598623
Baldwin23319324
Lee16691179
Calhoun15030332
Morgan14877288
Etowah14563368
Marshall12723235
Houston11302292
Elmore10576217
St. Clair10449251
Limestone10420158
Cullman10198204
Lauderdale9883253
DeKalb9226191
Talladega8705187
Walker7545286
Autauga7388113
Jackson7216117
Blount7147139
Colbert6522142
Coffee5962131
Dale5224117
Russell463942
Chilton4603117
Covington4502125
Franklin439781
Tallapoosa4343156
Escambia414782
Chambers3813124
Dallas3674163
Clarke361562
Marion3354106
Pike323179
Lawrence3176101
Winston289672
Bibb276165
Geneva267383
Marengo257367
Barbour241860
Pickens238862
Butler233571
Hale230578
Fayette223863
Henry203345
Cherokee192347
Randolph192244
Monroe190241
Washington174539
Macon167252
Crenshaw163457
Clay161859
Cleburne158445
Lamar149138
Lowndes143854
Wilcox128431
Bullock125342
Conecuh117730
Coosa115229
Perry109628
Sumter107532
Greene95935
Choctaw63125
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