Mississippi cities urge Mobile, Ala., to support Amtrak service

RELATED TOPICS: AMTRAK | PASSENGER | SOUTH | FUNDING | LEGISLATION
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Supporters of passenger service along the Gulf Coast greet an Amtrak inspection train at Mobile, Ala., in 2016.
Bob Johnston

MOBILE, Ala. — A group of Mississippi cities that would be served by revived Amtrak service along the Gulf Coast are urging the Mobile City Council to join in supporting the effort to begin New Orleans-Mobile passenger operations.

The Mobile council is scheduled to vote today whether to pledge its financial support for the proposed service. Mobile is being asked to provide up to $3 million to help pay operating expenses [see “Mobile city council to vote on financial support for proposed Gulf Coast Amtrak service,” Trains News Wire, Dec. 18, 2019].

AL.com reports that officials in Biloxi, Pascagoula, and Bay St. Louis, Miss., have all encouraged Mobile to join in supporting the train. Those cities, plus Gulfport, would be the Mississippi stops on the route of the proposed service.

A combination of city, county, and state governments in Mississippi and Louisiana have made financial commitments for the service, while no government entity in Alabama has done so. Gov. Kay Ivey has been reluctant to commit state money to the project, while some Mobile officials have expressed concerns that Amtrak service could interfere with access to the city’s port for both freight traffic and cruise-ship passengers. [See “Fact-finding meeting set for Mobile on Gulf Coast passenger service,” Trains News Wire, July 8, 2019].

“We think it’s vitally important Mobile votes for it,” Vincent Creel, a Biloxi spokesman, told AL.com. “It creates that synergy from New Orleans to Mobile. … It would create a unity for the cities along the Gulf Coast.”

Mobile’s council meeting is scheduled to begin at 10:30 a.m. Five of seven council members must vote in favor of the resolution, which would commit the city’s support over a three-year period when the train begins operating.

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