U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., a member of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, today questioned Acting Administrator of the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), Sarah Feinberg, about the agency’s efforts to restore passenger rail service along the Gulf Coast. That service, which linked Texas and other western states to the east coast was discontinued in 2005 in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Wicker’s comments came during Feinberg’s nomination hearing.
“I am pleased that Acting Administrator Feinberg is committed to working with us on restoring rail service to the Gulf Coast,” Wicker said. “The intent of Congress on this matter is clear – it is time to begin the work of bringing back passenger rail service between New Orleans and Orlando. I look forward to welcoming Administrator Feinberg to Mississippi in the near future to give her a firsthand look at the importance of the line.”
Amtrak's Sunset Limited operated between Los Angeles and Miami until Hurricane Katrina destroyed miles of CSX Railroad track along the Gulf Coast. When CSX rebuilt the line, Amtrak claimed there were no stations in place for passengers and refused to consider restoring service. Cities that were served by the only Gulf Coast link to Florida from Texas ranged from El Paso, Alpine, Del Rio, San Antonio and Houston to Beaumont. The train, which runs three times a week in each direction, terminates in New Orleans.