Southern Rail Commission Celebrates $1 Trillion Infrastructure Bill
BATON ROUGE — The Southern Rail Commission — an advocate for comprehensive rail transit in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama — said the recently passed federal infrastructure bill will lead to new development opportunities for passenger rail throughout the nation including expanded service in the Gulf South. The SRC said the bill will bring critical upgrades to railways and passenger rail connections, and economic development opportunities.
“The House’s passage of this bill is transformative for our region, and we are one step closer to seeing our vision for passenger rail expansion in the South come into fruition,” said Knox Ross, SRC chairman in a press release. “The bill also contains new funding to support the ongoing work of our commission to bring more connectivity and rail development to the South and along the Gulf Coast.”
The commission said the bill will:
- Provide $66 billion for passenger rail and another $36 billion that can be applied to passenger rail
- Authorize 10 new commissions based on the SRC model with operating funding support up to a match of $1 million per year
- Revise Amtrak’s mission to prioritize connectivity over profits and restructures its board of directors to ensure a broader national perspective
- Protect long -istance service from termination
- Require food and beverage service upgrades as well as improvements to the on-board experience to all passengers
Since Hurricane Katrina, the SRC has been working to restore passenger rail service to the Gulf Coast and expand connection opportunities throughout the region.