$178 Million in CRISI Grant Funding Awarded for Gulf Coast Rail
September 21, 2023
The Federal Railroad Administration has authorized $178 Million in Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (CRISI) Program funding to restore Amtrak service from New Orleans to Mobile. The funding will help to build a platform for the Mobile end of the service, as well as additional track upgrades.
For Immediate Release (23-8)
Contact: Madison Butler ([email protected])
$178 Million in CRISI Grant Funding Awarded for Gulf Coast Rail Restoration
Washington, DC – The Federal Railroad Administration has authorized $178 Million in Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (CRISI) Program funding to restore Amtrak service from New Orleans to Mobile. The funding will help to build a platform for the Mobile end of the service, as well as additional track upgrades.
“We’ve been fighting to return passenger trains to the Gulf Coast since it was knocked offline by Hurricane Katrina. That 17-year journey has been filled with obstacles and frustration -- but also moments of joy, where local champions and national advocates were able to come together around the vision of a more connected Gulf Coast region,” said Rail Passengers Association President & CEO Jim Mathews, who has been championing the restoration on behalf of U.S. passengers for nine consecutive years.
“Last year's agreement to return service was, first and foremost, a justification of the grit and dedication shown by those people and a validation of our vision,” Mathews continued. “We owe a particular debt of gratitude to Senator Roger Wicker and the Southern Rail Commission for their leadership. It is long, long past time for the people of the Gulf Coast to begin to see tangible results for all their hard work and patience."
Mississippi Senator Roger Wicker released a statement that "I am thrilled to announce this $178.4 million Federal grant to restore passenger rail service along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. This is a significant milestone, representing years of dedicated efforts to reconnect our communities after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. Restoring passenger rail service will create jobs, improve quality of life, and offer a convenient travel option for tourists, contributing to our region's economic growth and vitality. I appreciate the work of all who have worked tirelessly to bring this project to this point. I look forward to getting this plan across the finish line in the near future with the support of our state and local officials.”
Knox Ross of the Southern Rail Commission was also quoted by Senator Wicker’s office: “The Southern Rail Commission is excited to see the years of work by all of our partners culminate in the CRISI grant award. This does not happen without the tireless work of Senator Wicker and his staff’s leadership in establishing this grant program, and his leadership on the Commerce Committee. There are so many Federal, state, and local leaders that have played indispensable roles in today’s announcement. We look forward to starting this service very soon and doing our part to keep the Mississippi Coast as a premiere vacation and business destination.”
The Gulf Coast has not been included as a part of the National Interstate Passenger Rail Network since the devastating impacts of Hurricane Katrina, however freight rail operations resumed and has continued in the region since the natural disaster in 2005. Rail Passengers Association will continue to provide updates as the restoration process unfolds.
About Rail Passengers Association
The Rail Passengers Association is the oldest and largest national organization serving as a voice for the more than 40 million rail passengers in the U.S. Our mission is to improve and expand conventional intercity and regional passenger train services, support higher speed rail initiatives, increase connectivity among all forms of transportation and ensure safety for our country's trains and passengers. All of this makes communities safer, more accessible, and more productive, improving the lives of everyone who lives, works, and plays in towns all across America.
"I wish to extend my appreciation to members of the Rail Passengers Association for their steadfast advocacy to protect not only the Southwest Chief, but all rail transportation which plays such an important role in our economy and local communities. I look forward to continuing this close partnership, both with America’s rail passengers and our bipartisan group of senators, to ensure a bright future for the Southwest Chief route."
Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS)
April 2, 2019, on receiving the Association's Golden Spike Award for his work to protect the Southwest Chief