More than $5M granted to restore Gulf Coast passenger rail

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GULF COAST, Miss. (WLOX) – More than $5 million in grant money has been awarded to support operating costs for passenger rail service along the Gulf Coast.

“Restoring passenger rail service along the Mississippi Gulf Coast is a long-awaited symbol of the progress our state has made in recovering from Hurricane Katrina,” Sen. Roger Wicker said. “Regular service along this route will create jobs, increase quality of life for our residents, and give tourists and travelers a convenient option to access the many amenities along our shore.”

The $5.45 million will help fund the first three years of passenger rail service, which ended in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina damaged the route.

“Restoring passenger rail service on the Mississippi Gulf Coast has been a long-held dream for the past 15 years. This grant, along with a lot of hard work by many people, brings that dream closer to a reality. This service will bring great tourism and economic benefits to our state,” Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith said.

The Federal Railroad Administration award to the Southern Rail Commission will enable resumption of Amtrak service involving two daily round trips from New Orleans to Mobile, with station stops in Bay St. Louis, Gulfport, Biloxi, and Pascagoula.

“As we work to connect the Gulf Coast through public transportation, this grant provides continued support for improved rail service and accessibility. As the Amtrak project moves forward, Mississippi will have four stops on the route that will bring in more money for our local economy,” said Congressman Steven Palazzo.

The States of Louisiana and Mississippi, as well as the City of Mobile, will provide additional operating support for the restoration of the route

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