Join us in support of restored gulf coast passenger rail!
When: Monday, June 18, 2018 – 2:00 pm
Where: Gulfport Train Depot - 1419 27th Avenue (click for map)
Who: Tom King, MDOT District 1 Commissioner
Knox Ross, Vice Chair, Southern Rail Commission
Yuanyuan Zhang, PhD, Professor of Research, Trent Lott National Center, University of Southern MS
John Robert Smith, Chair, Transportation for America; Former Mayor, Meridian, MS
Why: The Trent Lott National Center at the University of Southern Mississippi has prepared a report detailing the economic benefits to the Mississippi taxpayers of restored passenger rail along the gulf coast.
The key finding from this report estimates the return on investment for this train is between $64 million and $525 million annually depending on the increase in tourism.
Federal funding is available for the restoration of passenger rail service along the gulf coast, and the deadline to apply for it is June 21st. These grants require a non-federal match. A combined state-local commitment is envisioned to cover the $14.82 million needed from Mississippi.
The Governor is working with the three coastal counties to secure the non-federal match required to make this service a reality. These funds would flow over several years so the Governor and localities will never have to write a check for all the money at one time.
Click here to download the media advisory.
The most important part of U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker’s trip to help dedicate Amtrak’s new stop for the City of New Orleans in northwest Mississippi, 67 miles south of Memphis, began when he boarded the northbound train at Greenwood, Miss., May 4.
“We haven’t told the story as well as we could,” the Mississippi Republican tells Trains News Wire in an exclusive interview after the speeches and ribbon cutting, “but let me just tell you that trainload of folks that we rode with from Greenwood to Marks was amazing. This is America going where they need to go at a reasonable rate.”
Click here for the interview on Trains.com (subscription required).
The signing of the federal FY2018 omnibus spending bill could finally bring passenger rail service back to Mobile.
Signed by President Donald J. Trump in March, the bill would provide millions in possible funding for rail service, including special grant funds set aside for service that was canceled. The bill includes $592.5 million in funding for Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements, or CRIS, including $35.5 million set aside to restore lost passenger rail service such as the Gulf Coast route, according to a statement from the Southern Rail Commission.
Read the full story here.
Advocates for bringing passenger rail service back to the Coast are asking for help.
In the next few months, the Southern Rail Commission will be working on an application to secure a $20 million dollar grant and matching federal dollars. The money would be used to create Amtrak service from New Orleans to Mobile with multiple stops on the Mississippi Coast.
Tish Williams with the Hancock County Chamber of Commerce said if you support the plan, you can sign an online letter to Gov. Phil Bryant.
"The Governor wants to hear from the people of the Mississippi Gulf Coast," Williams said. "He wants to know if this is important to us and if it is then he will know that he has the support to do what the state needs to do to secure the matching grant that is necessary in restoring the passenger rail service."
To read more, CLICK HERE
GULFPORT -- Mississippi Senator Thad Cochran had a parting gift for the Gulf Coast before he retires from the U.S. Senate on Sunday, one that could restore passenger trains from New Orleans to Mobile.
Tucked in the $1.3 trillion omnibus legislation passed by Congress to keep the federal government operating through September are grants to restore passenger rail service, particularly to areas like the Gulf Coast that once had trains but lost service.
"We have a unique opportunity Sen. Cochran and Sen. (Roger) Wicker put together for us," said Knox Ross, vice chairman of the Southern Rail Commission.
Click here to read more in the New Orleans Advocate.