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The Southern Rail Commission (SRC) has received a $5.45 million grant toward its efforts to restore a passenger-rail line along the Gulf Coast, which has been without service since it was destroyed during Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
Awarded through the federal Restoration and Enhancement (R&E) Program, the grant will fund operating expenses for the first and second years of service along the restored line between New Orleans and Mobile, Alabama. The grant also leverages commitments from the states of Louisiana and Mississippi, as well as from the city of Mobile, according to a May 3 press release issued by U.S. Sens. Roger Wicker and Cindy Hyde-Smith, and U.S. Rep. Steven Palazzo. All are Republicans from Mississippi.
"This award brings us one step closer to realizing the many benefits that restored passenger service will haven in Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana," said SRC Chairman Wiley Blankenship.
Transportation for American assisted SRC in submitting the R&E grant application.
The grant announcement follows other recent federal awards to the SRC for the Gulf Coast passenger-rail service, including $33 million through the Consolidated Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (CRISI) program to complete major infrastructure and capital improvements to the line. Additionally, the SRC received an R&E grant of $4.36 million in 2019 to support operating expenses for a portion of the rail line's first year.