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Several Gulf Coast organizations and mayors from cities across the region have issued statements in support of Amtrak's plan to begin passenger-rail services between New Orleans and Mobile, Alabama, the Southern Rail Commission (SRC) announced yesterday.
The statements were issued after Amtrak announced last week it would petition the Surface Transportation Board (STB) to permit operations of passenger-rail service in the region, which has been without such service since Hurricane Katrina damaged rail infrastructure there in 2005.
The SRC has been trying fort several years to get Amtrak trains rolling again in the area.
"Restoring passenger service between New Orleans and Mobile is a critical economic driver for our region," New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell said in her prepared statement. "I pledge to work with Amtrak and the railroads to help make the service a reality. We know that to grow, we have to think regionally, and this is a step in connecting New Orleanians with destinations along the Gulf Coast."
Other community leaders' statements reflected similar sentiments.
In its STB filing, Amtrak asked the STB to force CSX and Norfolk Southern Railway to allow for the operation of two daily Amtrak trains between New Orleans and Mobile starting in 2022. The Class Is own the track on which the passenger trains would operate.