The effort to bring passenger rail back to the Gulf Coast is continuing. MPB’s Evelina Burnett reports, coast mayors met with railroad and rail commission officials this week to hear the latest.
Mississippi coast mayors heard the latest on the effort to restore passenger rail along the Gulf Coast. Mississippi Senator Roger Wicker says the public is ready for it.
"We haven't had passenger rail since before Hurricane Katrina, and then it was sketchy," he says. "We're determined to actually make it work for the traveling public this time, and part of that is the schedule and part of that is safety."
On the issue of safety, the group discussed railroad crossings and what will be needed in order to bring crossings up to what's required for passenger rail, which generally runs faster than freight rail. Gulfport Mayor Billy Hewes says restoring the service would mean a lot for his city.
"Tourism is our bread and butter," he says. "People are really happy with what they're discovering in Gulfport and along the coast. I just see it as one more opportunity."
A working group is preparing a study on the feasiblity of bringing passenger service back. It will report to Congress in early September.