Mobile moves ahead with Amtrak plans

Mobile County

The City of Mobile is moving ahead with plans to bring passenger rail service back to the City even though the state has said “no” to bringing back Amtrak.

The City Council Tuesday approved $223,000 to design a passenger rail station that will go downtown near Cooper-Riverside Park. It is federal money that came in the form of a grant from the Southern Rail Commission. Three weeks ago, Governor Kay Ivey squelched plans for the return of an Amtrak route from New Orleans to Orlando that would have stopped in Mobile, but city leaders say they want to be ready if things change.

“I’m hopeful that by having a plan, having drawings, having something shovel ready, the Governor, whoever that might be next year, will be interested in funding our plan,” said Councilman Levon Manzie.

Amtrak service left Mobile and the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina damaged tracks in 2005. Louisiana, Mississippi, and Florida have already signed off on bringing the service back.

“It would be a shame to send these grant resources back when we can utilize it to have a shovel-ready plan so the governor can hopefully support what we’re trying to do in the near future,” Manzie said.

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