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Mobile to study fares, ridership if Amtrak returns to city

June 29, 2019

MOBILE, Ala. (AP) — The Mobile City Council is delaying a proposal that endorsed the return of passenger rail service to the Gulf Coast through Mobile.

City officials recently delayed a resolution that would have asked Gov. Kay Ivey to commit state funds necessary to return Amtrak service to the region, Al.com reported. Ivey had said earlier this month that she needs more information before the state commits funding to help restore Amtrak service.

In Mobile, council members say they want more time to consider information about fares, ridership and logistical issues.

Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson expressed concern about passenger trains potentially blocking access to the city’s cruise-ship terminal.

Councilman Joel Daves also questioned Amtrak ridership interest in Mobile.

“I want to be absolutely clear, I am not opposed to the return of passenger rail service,” Daves said. “I think it’s too early to move ahead with respect to this resolution asking the governor to move forward. There are too many unanswered questions.”

Amtrak suspended service east of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina caused heavy damage in 2005.

The potential return of passenger trains has been in various stages of discussion on the Gulf Coast for more than five years, Al.com reported.

The overall costs to restore the service are estimated at $65.9 million. Mississippi ($15 million) and Louisiana ($10 million) have already dedicated their portions for the project. Alabama, at around $2.7 million or less, remains uncommitted, the news site reported.

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This story has been corrected to fix date of hurricane damage.

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