By PTJ Staff
Amtrak is partnering with the Southern Rail Commission to apply for federal funds to study an expansion of the Crescent from Meridian, Miss., west to Louisana and Texas. Currently, the Crescent runs between New York City and New Orleans, but an extension along the Interstate 20 corridor would allow it to hit Dallas/Fort Worth as well.
Amtrak officials said they have been exploring the idea for more than 20 years, but last year’s Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act created new opportunities to expand long-distance services. Amtrak’s Vice President of Network Development Nicole Bucich announced that the railroad was going after the funding during the Southern Rail Commission’s meeting in New Orleans last week.
“As the entity responsible for providing the nation’s long-distance intercity passenger rail service, Amtrak will work with our partners to seek the funds needed to study expansion and improvement options where strong stakeholder support exists and initial analysis show opportunity.” Bucich said. “With the encouragement and support of federal, state and local officials, this application is the first step in determining the feasibility of this concept and the benefits and challenges, including federal funding commitments, of expanding Amtrak service to the I-20 route.”
The expanded train would utilize Kansas City Southern trackage.