Hundreds of towns and cities would lose rail service under President Trump’s proposed budget—and some of them have few other options.
The Amtrak station in Mobile, Alabama closed in 2005, after Hurricane Katrina flooded it. The storm wiped out passenger rail service across the Gulf Coast region, closing stations between Florida and Louisiana. Mobile’s waterlogged station was razed in 2007.
The loss of the Gulf Coast service left Mobile residents who don’t drive with fewer transportation options. While there’s an airport within a half-hour’s drive, it’s quite expensive to fly out of the city: A flight from Mobile to Orlando can cost up to $500. Meanwhile, bus lines have decreased service, too, due to budget problems.
But in recent years, there have been signs of life for restored rail service. In 2016, Mobile received a $125,00 grant from the Southern Rail Commission (SRC)—a group that promotes railway travel and distributes federal grants—to build a new station. Knox Ross, the secretary/treasurer of the SRC, says that funds previously earmarked for safety upgrades were repurposed for improvements, and Mobile received a 50/50 match grant from the SRC to rebuild their lost station.
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