February 3, 2018 – meridianstar.com –
Negotiations are underway to revive a long-awaited Amtrak route connecting Atlanta and Ft. Worth, Texas, through Meridian, but it has taken a backseat to a Gulf Coast train route that was abandoned after Hurricane Katrina.
“The Gulf Coast is first in line — it gets priority,” said Transportation for American Chairman and former Meridian Mayor John Robert Smith. “… There’s a finite amount of money that you can compete for.”
The coastal route, which would run from Mobile to New Orleans, was abandoned more than a decade ago after Hurricane Katrina devastated the coast.
Smith said it will take about two years to negotiate terms for the two-and-a-half hour train route from Mobile to New Orleans. With matching federal funds, it would cost the states of Mississippi and Alabama about $23 million.