Louisiana Passenger Rail from Baton Rouge to New Orleans, Plans to Start as Early as 2025
There has been an ongoing conversation about the potential of a high-speed railway in Louisiana for several years now. John Spain with the Baton Rouge Area Foundation and leader of the project says that this plan has been in the works for 10 years. They initially proposed the idea because of the congestion on I-10 and wanted to provide an alternative for people looking to evacuate from hurricanes in the New Orleans area.
Spain said that the Biden administration set aside $60 billion for a new intercity passenger rail service. John Bel Edwards added $20 million of state money to prepare for this railway and build a new bridge over the Bonnet Carre Spillway that will allow the train to operate at 90mph.
The federal government pays 80% of all the improvements of the state and puts up their matches. Governor Edwards has now done and so the improvements will be made. Amtrak will enter into a contract with the state. So Amtrak will actually run the train and a contract with the state
Where will the railway be?
Baton Rouge will have two stations, one on Government Street at 15th St. replacing the old station that used to be there and the other will be in the 'health district'. If people are evacuated from hospitals in the New Orleans area during a hurricane they can expect to be brought to this district to ensure proper care is administered to patients. If funding permits, the railway could be extended to North Louisiana.
What will a day in operation look like?
If everything continues as planned, the passenger rail will offer two trips a day in the beginning. Passengers will have the option to go from Baton Rouge to New Orleans or vice versa. They will also have the option of stopping at any of the surrounding cities along the way to these two major hubs. Over time, more routes will be provided for passengers.
When will the railway open?
John Spain told WAFB 9 that the railway could be up and running in the next 18 to 24 months. The project is continuing to move forward, so hopefully in the next year or so we could see this railway operating here in Louisiana.
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