July 1, 2023 - TRA Newswire - 

East Texas Congressman Nathaniel Moran (R-TX-01) has jumped aboard the push for passenger rail along the I-20 corridor. 

Congressman Moran issued a statement after learning that funding for the I-20 Passenger Rail Corridor, which he supported through a letter to the Federal Rail Administration in April, was included in Amtrak’s request to the Federal-State Partnership for Intercity Rail Passenger Rail (FSP) National Program.

“The I-20 Passenger Rail Corridor will be an economic driver to the First Congressional District by directly connecting rural regions in East Texas to the Dallas-Fort Worth and Atlanta metropolitan areas", according the Moran.  "Additionally, this infrastructure will set the groundwork towards revitalizing historic downtowns across the district and catalyzing local economic development, while expanding opportunities in these communities. Thank you to Amtrak for their support and recognition of the need to expand much-needed transit across East Texas through the I-20 Passenger Rail Corridor project.”

Moran joins a list of local, regional, state and federal elected and appointed officials that want to see a daily train that would connect East Texas towns to the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex on the west and to Shreveport, northern Louisiana, Mississippi cities and Atlanta on the east. The new train would be an extension of the current Amtrak Crescent that runs from New Orleans through Atlanta to New York. It would connect with the Crescent at Meridian, Mississippi and have stops in Jackson and Vicksburg, Mississippi; Monroe, Ruston and Shreveport in Louisiana and Marshall, Longview and Mineola in Texas before terminating at Dallas and Fort Worth. 

Amtrak is advancing the proposal of the I-20 Passenger Rail Corridor under the Fiscal Year 2022 Federal-State Partnership for Intercity Passenger Rail Grant Program (FSP-National). It will provide alternative public transit to underserved communities in the First Congressional District, including Marshall and Longview. This is the first application from Amtrak for the implementation of a long-distance route in decades.

Groundwork for the service extension was started in 2004 by the I-20 Corridor Council, chaired by former Texas Senator and Judge Richard Anderson of Marshall. The Council and TxDOT received a feasibility grant from then U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison to study the potential for service and later was joined by the Southern Rail Commission in the push for the extension of the train. The new daily service is backed by resolutions from 34 towns, cities, parishes, universities and others.