EAST TEXAS (KLTV) – Amtrak and the freight railway company Canadian Pacific (CP) announced they have come to an agreement formalizing Canadian Pacific’s support of Amtrak’s expansion of passenger rail service in the Midwest and the South.
The announcement came as welcome news to the I-20 Corridor Council, a non-profit grassroots advocacy organization and multi-state coalition, comprised of mayors, judges, elected officials and other stakeholders along the I-20 Corridor, which has been working consistently for more than 15 years to establish the east-west long-distance passenger rail connection between Dallas/Fort Worth and Atlanta, Georgia. This route would also connect to the East Coast and New York City.
The proposed route would connect Dallas/Ft. Worth to Atlanta, GA, making stops in Longview and Marshall, as well as through northern Louisiana, and central Mississippi.
Former Texas State Senator and former Harrison County (Texas) Judge Richard Anderson is the chairman of the I-20 Corridor Council.
“The I-20 Corridor Council and all who have been working with great devotion to re-establish this important east-west passenger rail connection across the southeastern region of our nation are very pleased and grateful for the positive steps that Amtrak and Canadian Pacific have announced. We look forward to continued progress in this regard as we continue to work toward making the I-20 Corridor long distance passenger rail connection a reality for the great benefit of our Southern region and nation,” Anderson said.
Anderson also stated that, with the passage of the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), the I-20 Corridor passenger rail project could provide an excellent return on investment. That’s because it would require a comparatively small fraction of a percent of what will be needed for this project from the $16 billion which the IIJA has designated for long-distance passenger rail.
A press release from the council states the feasibility and capacity studies of the I-20 corridor route, which have already been completed by Amtrak, TXDOT, and others using the $738,000 in grant funding that the Corridor Council obtained with the assistance of former U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, determined that the I-20 Corridor route would be economically viable on existing track without an annual subsidy. It also determined that capacity could be increased, such as additional sidings, for a relatively low cost and in a relatively short period of time. Plus, this new passenger rail service should not adversely affect freight traffic.
“Again, we appreciate these positive steps announced by Amtrak and CP for the routes in the Midwest and South. Plus, in rural Amtrak-served communities, such as Marshall and Longview, we always appreciate the strong partnership with Amtrak,” Anderson said.
Written by Christian Terry