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Study Looks At Increased Passenger Rail Service In Louisiana

Lanie Lee Cook

The mere mention of rail travel brings up thoughts of a more simpler romantic time in our country. Many of our Acadiana communities owe their very existence to the railroad. Back in the day train travel not only meant a means of transportation for people and products, it was the information superhighway of its time.

Today rail travel is a lot more elegant and a lot faster. In Europe they have regular rail service where the trains top 80 and 100 miles per hour. America has not embraced the train nearly as much as Europe has. We love our cars but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a need for mass transportation on rail.

A recent study looked at the feasibility of rail service between Baton Rouge and New Orleans. It would certainly cut down congestion on the roadway and might make sense in a tourism aspect too. The proposed price tag for such a line would be slightly  more than 260 million dollars.

The same engineering firm that did the study on the New Orleans to Baton Rouge line has been asked to gather facts and figures on  rail service in north Louisiana. The proposal includes a study of rail service along the I-20 corridor between cities like Shreveport, Ruston,Monroe and Vicksburg Mississippi.

North Louisiana Council Of Governments Executive Director Kent Rodgers says increased traffic along Interstate 20 is the catalyst for looking into the possible passenger service in that part of the state.

“Traffic is just increasing in that east-west direction. This is a way to provide an additional mode of transportation.”

Rodgers made his comments to the Louisiana Radio Network. He says he  hopes to have some solid facts and figures to present on the possibility of rail service in 8 or 9 months.



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