City of Mobile vote increases likelihood Amtrak will return service to Gulf Coast
A vote by the Mobile City Council on Tuesday moved the northern Gulf Coast one step closer to a resumption of regular Amtrak service for the first time since Hurricane Katrina.
Members voted 6-1 to approve a grant application for restoring passenger train service to the city, news outlets reported. The train would link New Orleans and Mobile twice daily with stops in Mississippi in Pascagoula, Biloxi, Gulfport, and Bay St. Louis.
Mobile would be asked to pay about $3 million over three years beginning in 2023, and the state could be asked to help. The states of Louisiana and Mississippi have already committed millions.
The Southern Rail Commission said it is applying for nearly $8 million in federal grant money for the project, and Mobile’s commitment was needed to move forward. Actual train service is still likely years away, officials said.
Amtrak service ceased along the coast after Katrina damaged tracks in 2005. Officials with the Alabama State Port Authority opposed resuming passenger trains in Mobile by arguing that Amtrak could interfere with freight train service through the main dock area.
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