Amtrak Gulf Coast service to Pensacola back on track

Buried in the $1.3 trillion omnibus bill that kept the government open through September and was signed by President Donald Trump on Friday is a bit of hope for those wanting to see passenger rail service return to the Gulf Coast — including to Pensacola.

The law contains $20 million for a grant program aimed at initiating, restoring or enhancing passenger rail service, according to Bryan Gulley, a Senate Commerce Committee spokesman for Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla.

"The program, which Florida Sen. Bill Nelson helped establish in 2015, is competitive but it was created with the Gulf Coast service in mind," Gulley said in an email to the News Journal. "For example, the grant program gives priority to restoring service on routes formerly operated by Amtrak. So, if the Gulf Coast line gets approval, the grant money could be used to help restore the line."

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