New Orleans-to-Baton Rouge rail link has support, big obstacles

Posted on July 15, 2015

I-10 Bridge across the Mississippi River, Baton Rouge, La. Photo: Steven Martin/Flickr
I-10 Bridge across the Mississippi River, Baton Rouge, La. Photo: Steven Martin/Flickr

NEW ORLEANS — After years of political hurdles, plans for a dedicated passenger train from New Orleans to Baton Rouge may be back on track, The Times-Picayune reported.

Now that Governor Bobby Jindal is leaving office, supporters of the plan have regrouped with a new plan scaled back from its high-speed predecessor. Trains would still travel along tracks used for carrying freight stopping at up to seven possible stations, at a top speed of 79 mph.  Instead of traveling back and forth up to eight times a day, there would be a morning train leaving in both directions, and an evening train taking passengers home, according to the report.

Those changes, according to officials, would significantly cut the initial need for subsidies to a more digestible $6.7 million a year. But with fewer daily trips, could present a risk to attracting a ridership expected to generate around $2 million a year toward the route's operations budget, The Times-Picayune said.

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