Saturday, April 13, 2024

Sen. Cassidy discusses passenger rail service through north Louisiana

by BIZ Magazine

U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA) met with elected officials and community leaders Tuesday to discuss the possibility of passenger rail service being established between Atlanta and the Dallas/Fort Worth Region, going through North Louisiana. The likelihood of this happening has increased thanks to Cassidy’s Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which includes $66 billion in new funding for passenger and freight rail.

“An I-20 corridor passenger rail line, connecting to Atlanta and Dallas, will allow someone to live where they want and easily commute within Louisiana and beyond,” said Dr. Cassidy. “State and local leadership, taking advantage of funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill, can make this happen.”

If constructed, the project would provide another transportation option for people seeking to commute to Dallas, Atlanta, or somewhere along the I-20 corridor. It would join more than 14 million residents throughout Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia. In 2015, an Amtrak feasibility study was conducted that determined a long-distance passenger rail connection could operate profitably over the existing railroad infrastructure. In 2017, a capacity study suggested that a capital expenditure investment of less than $80 million in Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi was necessary.

Additionally, Canadian Pacific Railway has offered to acquire the Kansas City Southern Railway, a merger pending before the U.S. Surface Transportation Board. Canadian Pacific and Amtrak have announced plans to conduct a study to finalize a cooperative agreement to operate the passenger train for the I-20 corridor along the trackage being acquired by Canadian Pacific.

Among other stakeholders present was Mr. Knox Ros, Secretary and Treasurer of the Southern Rail Commission, which is coordinating the push to bring passenger rail to North Louisiana.

“We have an opportunity to connect North Louisiana to Dallas and Atlanta via rail, bringing visitors and commerce to our region,” said Mr. Ross. “That opportunity is only possible because of Senator Cassidy’s infrastructure plan. We appreciate the Senator’s leadership.”

Additionally, Cassidy visited a Super 1 Foods grocery owned by Brookshire’s Food and Pharmacy, at 745 Shreveport-Barksdale Highway. He was given a tour of their store, and learned how they are fighting inflation, managing costs and feeding our community, including through SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) and WIC programs. He also learned how federal policy affects the grocery industry.

“Grocery stores staying open during the pandemic made us all appreciate how important they and their employees are,” said Dr. Cassidy. “We discussed issues specific to groceries and pharmacies with the goal of lowering the cost of food and medicines.”

Cassidy was welcomed by Ms. Alecia Hill, District Vice President and director of the Super 1 Foods store he visited.

“We appreciate Senator Cassidy visiting us today to discuss how we are fighting inflation, managing costs and feeding our community while serving our customers and employee-partners through the pandemic. BGC is committed to providing outstanding service to our customers,” said Ms. Hill.

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