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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.

Confirmed Cases: 91935

Reported Deaths: 2780
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds6903153
DeSoto532153
Harrison368771
Jackson334367
Madison318086
Rankin313473
Lee254066
Jones236078
Forrest231069
Washington215671
Lafayette203039
Lauderdale1984123
Bolivar177465
Oktibbeha173749
Lamar156633
Neshoba1524103
Panola140926
Sunflower138543
Lowndes138457
Warren136650
Leflore134380
Pontotoc120416
Pike120148
Monroe117665
Scott115925
Copiah115433
Coahoma110927
Holmes108458
Marshall106714
Grenada104535
Lincoln104453
Yazoo103429
Simpson100142
Union96524
Tate94537
Leake93535
Adams89135
Wayne87121
Pearl River84850
Marion83633
Covington79321
Prentiss78617
Alcorn75310
Newton74722
Itawamba74121
George73913
Tallahatchie73418
Winston71919
Tishomingo65035
Attala63625
Chickasaw63524
Tippah63516
Walthall58925
Clay56216
Hancock55420
Noxubee54015
Jasper53615
Clarke52538
Smith51714
Calhoun50612
Tunica47213
Montgomery45020
Claiborne44916
Lawrence42212
Yalobusha41314
Perry39016
Humphreys36915
Quitman3625
Stone34611
Greene33516
Webster32813
Jefferson Davis32211
Carroll30812
Amite30710
Wilkinson30117
Kemper28515
Sharkey25812
Jefferson2359
Benton2151
Franklin1863
Choctaw1775
Issaquena1033
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 128818

Reported Deaths: 2284
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson18648332
Mobile12949288
Montgomery8560170
Madison736573
Tuscaloosa7015112
Lee558259
Shelby550149
Baldwin502148
Marshall376342
Etowah326344
Calhoun321139
Morgan312925
Houston260621
Elmore247547
DeKalb230119
St. Clair218134
Walker217780
Talladega199925
Limestone191919
Cullman180017
Franklin172728
Dallas172526
Russell16912
Autauga162424
Lauderdale159231
Colbert157224
Escambia154324
Blount150413
Jackson146610
Chilton143325
Dale128042
Covington127027
Coffee12388
Pike11329
Tallapoosa112483
Chambers110642
Clarke104417
Marion91428
Butler90238
Barbour8097
Marengo69319
Winston68512
Lowndes64327
Pickens62214
Bibb6179
Hale60828
Bullock58514
Randolph58512
Lawrence57620
Monroe5708
Washington54513
Geneva5404
Perry5356
Wilcox52911
Cherokee52816
Clay5187
Conecuh51611
Crenshaw51531
Macon46619
Henry4524
Sumter41719
Fayette4128
Choctaw34212
Lamar3302
Cleburne3116
Greene29915
Coosa1573
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