Wicker Welcomes Agreement to Restore Gulf Coast Passenger Rail

November 22, 2022

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., ranking member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, today released the following statement in response to the announcement that Amtrak, CSX Transportation, Norfolk Southern Railway, and the Alabama State Port Authority have reached an agreement to restore passenger rail service between New Orleans and Mobile. This agreement will resolve the case pending before the Surface Transportation Board in which Amtrak sought to access freight railroad tracks to operate the Gulf Coast service.

“Today’s agreement is a long overdue win for Mississippi’s Gulf Coast communities, businesses, and job creators,” Wicker said. “Residents of the Mississippi Gulf Coast have been without passenger rail service since Hurricane Katrina, and restoring it has been a top priority of mine. Now, more than 17 years after Katrina, I am pleased to have a commitment from all parties involved that Amtrak trains will return. This decision demonstrates what I have long believed — that freight and passenger rail can thrive together.”

“I commend the leadership of Amtrak, the host railroads, and the Port of Mobile for their diligent work to reach this resolution. I would also like to express appreciation to the Southern Rail Commission. They have commissioned reports, participated in working groups, performed studies, and devoted thousands of hours to this effort. I will continue to support them as they work to implement this agreement and shift to overseeing the restored passenger service.”

“Finally, I appreciate the time and attention devoted by the members of the Surface Transportation Board, who presided over 11 days of evidentiary hearings earlier this year. They have kept this matter a priority while allowing mediation to proceed, enabling the parties to reach a negotiated resolution.”

“I look forward to riding Amtrak to stations in Bay St. Louis, Gulfport, Biloxi, and Pascagoula again soon.”