City contemplates $3 million commitment to bring back Amtrak to Mobile

Mobile County

Decision must be made by the end of the year

MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — The Mobile City Council’s Finance Committee will meet Thursday at Government Plaza to discuss a multi-million dollar financial commitment to bring Amtrak back to the city.

The City has until the end of the year to decide if it wants passenger train service to return to Mobile. Service stopped after Hurricane Katrina damaged tracks along the Gulf Coast in 2005.

The proposed route would run from Mobile to New Orleans twice a day with stops in Pascagoula, Biloxi, Gulfport, and Bay St. Louis.

At this point, Mobile and the State of Alabama are the only entities that haven’t financially committed to the project. Mississippi is in for $15 million and Louisiana for $10 million. $33 million will come from federal funds in the form of a grant from the Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements program.

Mobile is being asked to commit up to $3 million from 2023-2025, depending on ridership. The State of Alabama and Mobile County could also be asked to contribute. Governor Kay Ivey has shown little interest in the past in funding Amtrak.

The City of Mobile would also have to build a terminal, either near the Convention Center downtown which would be preferable for tourists, or at the Brookley Aeroplex where Mayor Sandy Stimpson hopes to relocate passenger air service.

Among those who have expressed concern about Amtrak’s return to Mobile are authorities at the State Docks who worry passenger trains will interfere with freight traffic to and from the port.

Thursday committee meeting starts at 3:30 at Government Plaza. The full council will likely vote on the issue at its meeting on December 31.

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