Alabama governor announces Southern Rail Commission appointments

Alabama Governor Robert J. Bentley announced his appointments to the Southern Rail Commission effective August 1, 2014.

Current Commissioner, J.W. "Billy" McFarland, Jr. was named Bentley's designee for the Commission.

In this new role, McFarland will represent the Governor’s Administration at all Commission meetings and events, including business with the Federal Railroad Administration and other stakeholders in Washington, D.C. His appointment becomes effective August 1 and runs concurrently with the Governor’s term of office.

“It is a humbling honor to be given the opportunity to serve Governor Bentley as his designee. To be appointed to the same position my late father, Bill, held for many years is especially meaningful. I will work to advocate for enhanced passenger rail options that will improve public transportation, economic development and quality of life for the State of Alabama and the entire region,” McFarland said.

Additionally, Bentley reappointed Commissioners Greg White and Toby Bennington.

In addition to those re-appointments, Bentley named Larry Watts and Claire Austin as new Commissioners.

The Southern Rail Commission, an Interstate compact chartered by the United States Congress in June, 1982 (Public Law 97-213), is charged with advancing passenger rail planning, safety, and service implementation in the states of Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi.