BILOXI, Miss. – U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao today announced that DOT’s Federal Railroad Administration has awarded $4,360,000 to the Southern Rail Commission to help restore intercity passenger rail service along the Gulf Coast.

“This funding will help Mississippi, Louisiana, and Alabama resume passenger rail service between New Orleans and Mobile to enhance regional economic growth and rural mobility,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao for a news release.

In 2005 Amtrak suspended its tri-weekly service between New Orleans, Louisiana, and Orlando, Florida, due to extensive damage caused by Hurricane Katrina to the stations and rail lines used by long-distance Sunset Limited trains.

“States are in the best position to determine how to meet the mobility needs of their citizens, and I commend the Southern Rail Commission for all its hard work to restore Gulf Coast intercity passenger rail service,” said FRA Administrator Ronald L. Batory.

The funding announced today is being awarded under FRA’s fiscal year 2017 Restoration and Enhancement Grants Program, authorized by the FAST Act. As described in the Feb. 21, 2018 Notice of Funding Opportunity, the R&E program provides operating assistance grants for initiating, restoring, or enhancing intercity rail passenger transportation.

The project mirrors the structure of many successful state-supported corridors and is expected to fill a critical geographic gap in Amtrak’s National Network, according to DOT.

The service will provide twice daily roundtrip service with stops in: New Orleans; Bay St. Louis, Miss.; Gulfport, Miss.; Biloxi, Miss.; Pascagoula, Miss.; and Mobile, Ala., and is projected to carry 38,400 passengers annually.

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