During a three-hour train ride to New Orleans from Baton Rouge, Governor John Bel Edwards and DOTD Secretary Shawn Wilson inspected railways that could soon be passenger rail for Louisianans.
Edwards, Wilson and officials from Amtrak, Kansas City Southern Rail, and Canadian Pacific discussed the new opportunities and renewed support for the passenger rail service at a Wednesday press conference.
Wilson says the opportunity for the passenger rail service was made possible from allocations provided by Congress for infrastructure projects. This would be the first passenger train transport from Baton Rouge to New Orleans if approved.
The preferred route for the roughly 80-mile rail link would be on the KCS tracks between Baton Rouge and the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport, and then on the Canadian National tracks from the airport into the Union Passenger Terminal in downtown New Orleans, which is served by other Amtrak trains and intercity buses.
Wilson says they are looking to get the train moving as fast as possible as they work to continue to find alternatives to transportation.
Once the route is approved, Wilson says as the service and needs growth, additional stops could be added to the Baton Rouge route. The goal is to reduce traffic along the roadways between the two major cities.
"This will be an opportunity to get cars off the road and reduce congestion. We will move our state forward creating a better quality of life," Shawn Wilson said.
"A rail line connecting the state capitol to the largest metropolitan area will do wonders for our state. It would be much better for our state if one can live in Baton Rouge and work in New Orleans or one can entertain in Baton Rouge and live in New Orleans," Edwards added.
Edwards says they will do everything they can to make sure the railway happens and it happens as soon as possible.
"All Aboard," Edwards said closing the press conference.
See the presser below
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