Digest: Alghabra becomes Canada's transport minister

News Wire Digest for Jan. 14: Legislation introduced to create Indiana Passenger Rail Commission; CSX bridge in Louisiana struck by tugboat
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Canada's new transport minister, Omar Alghabra.
Transport Canada

Thursday morning rail news:

Alghabra becomes Canada's transport minister, succeeding Garneau (corrected)

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has shuffled his cabinet, appointing Omar Alghabra as transport minister. Alghabra replaces Marc Garneau, transport minister since 2015, who becomes minister of foreign affairs. Macleans magazine reports Alghabra, a member of parliament from Mississauga, Ontario, first served in the House of Commons from 2006 to 2008, then worked as a consultant and a professor at Toronto’s Ryerson University before returning to parliament in 2015. He has served as the parliamentary secretary for foreign and trade ministers, and as the Prime Minister’s parliamentary secretary for public service reform. Born to a Syrian family in Saudi Arabia, he immigrated to Canada in 19 to study engineering. Yahoo Finance Canada reports issues he will immediately face include an aid package for the airline industry and Air Canada’s planned purchase of tour company Transat A.T.

Indiana bill seeks to create passenger rail commission
A bill introduced in Indiana’s legislature would establish a rail commission to develop passenger service throughout the state. WANE-TV reports Senate Bill 9, introduced by state Sens. Dennis Kruse and Jeff Raatz, would create the Indiana Passenger Rail Commission to promote and coordinate passenger rail service in the state, with goals including facilitating development and implementation of improvements to intercity rail service, long-range plans for passenger service, and coordinating public and private agencies and organizations to develop service. WPTA-TV reports the Northern Indiana Passenger Rail Association helped draft the bill as part of an effort to restore service between Chicago and Columbus, Ohio.

CSX bridge handling limited traffic after strike by tugboat
A CSX Transportation bridge in Louisiana that was reportedly struck by a tug boat on Wednesday morning was back in place, allowing limited service, by midafternoon. The Associated Press reports the swing bridge over the Rigolets strait in Slidell, La., was reportedly struck by the tugbot Robert Cenac about 1 a.m. Wednesday. CSX said it was able to return the bridge to the closed position and add temporary supports, allowing train traffic to resume at reduced speeds, and that it was mobilizing equipment to make complete repairs.

— First item updated at 4:15 p.m. CST to correct when Marc Garneau became transport minister.


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