NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Amtrak and the Southern Rail Commission say they will apply for federal funds to study passenger rail service between Meridian, Mississippi, and Dallas and Fort Worth in Texas.
The corridor along Interstate 20 would serve cities including Jackson in Mississippi and Monroe and Shreveport in Louisiana. Amtrak said in a news release that it would be a separate section of its Crescent train, which now runs between New York and New Orleans, meaning travelers could go on to Atlanta, Washington, D.C. and New York.
Amtrak said it would seek money from last year’s congressional infrastructure law for the study.
“This application is the first step in determining the feasibility of this concept and the benefits and challenges, including federal funding commitments, of expanding Amtrak service to the I-20 route,” Amtrak Network Development Vice President Nicole Bucich said in a statement.
The Canadian Pacific Railway is in the process of buying the Kansas City Southern Railway, which partly owns tracks between Meridian and Shreveport. The new owner has agreed on the study with Amtrak, although co-owner Norfolk Southern Railway would also have to approve. If the study found service was warranted, Amtrak would then seek federal money to pay for startup costs.
“This has the potential to be the first new Amtrak service of its kind in more than 25 years and it would come in an area that has long been underserved by passenger rail,” Southern Rail Commission Chairman Knox Ross said in a statement.
The Amtrak agreement would also allow for service between New Orleans and Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The passenger railroad is in the final stages of planning another new route between New Orleans and Mobile, Alabama.