October 26, 2023 - bossierpress.com -
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards, joined by Department of Transportation and Development Sec. Eric Kalivoda, Amtrak Chief Executive Officer Stephen Gardner and other officials, signed a service development agreement this week that will advance the return of intercity passenger rail service between Baton Rouge and New Orleans.
“An Amtrak line connecting Louisiana’s capital to the largest metropolitan area in the state will have immense economic benefits for both cities and the parishes in between,” said Gov. Edwards. “Not only will this service potentially reduce the number of vehicles on the roadways which will result in less congestion, but it will also connect communities through employment opportunities and allow for more transportation options for festivals, sporting events, and concerts.”
The agreement, signed this morning at the New Orleans Union Passenger Terminal, is a breakthrough for a project that has roots in 2008, when the idea was introduced through a concept study. According to the agreement, passenger service could start as early as 2027.
“This project is just one of many ways Louisiana infrastructure is moving forward to create a better quality of life for our residents,” said Sec. Kalivoda. “This will serve commuters and also expand tourism opportunities by providing a safe, reliable transportation system for our many visitors.”
“Baton Rouge lost passenger rail service in 1969, two years before Amtrak began,” Gardner said.
Photo credit: Southern Rail Commission