Wicker Statement on Final Report to Restore Passenger Rail Service to Gulf Coast

July 18, 2017

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., today issued the following statement regarding a report submitted to Congress by the Gulf Coast Passenger Rail Working Group, which was formed to analyze the costs and benefits of restoring passenger rail service from New Orleans to Orlando along the Gulf Coast:

“The members of this working group, along with officials from Amtrak, the Federal Railroad Administration, and the Southern Rail Commission have done a great public service. This encouraging study shows that passenger rail service could be restored along the Coast quickly and at a reasonable cost. Completion of this report is an important step in the process, and it brings us closer to delivering the numerous benefits of passenger rail to the entire Gulf Coast region.”

The Gulf Coast Working Group’s report is a summary of 18 months of work with input from the Federal Railroad Administration, Amtrak, Southern Rail Commission, CSX, and local communities along the proposed route. 

The report estimated the capital costs required to restore passenger service would be approximately $117.6 million. 

Wicker has championed legislative efforts to restore passenger rail service along the Gulf Coast, which stopped in 2005 following Hurricane Katrina. In 2015, he led the effort to create and fund the Gulf Coast Working Group.

In February 2016, Wicker joined a group of officials on an inspection trip to examine existing infrastructure and the opportunities that intercity rail service could provide to the area. The trip, which began in New Orleans, made several stops in Mississippi before continuing on to Florida. Those stops included Bay St. Louis, Gulfport, Biloxi, and Pascagoula.