Bossier City council issues support for passenger rail service

Amtrak train 471, the Valley Flyer, at Springfield Union Station on January 24, 2020

The Bossier City Council has issued its support for Amtrak passenger rail service along the Interstate 20 corridor through Bossier City.

The council unanimously supported a resolution at its March 15, 2022 regular meeting.

Jack “Bump” Skaggs, president and CEO of the Coordinating and Development Corporation, addressed the Bossier City Council during the meeting. He noted the CDC is working with the I-20 Corridor Council, the Southern Rail Commission and Transpiration for America.

He noted that this project, which has been in the works for nearly a decade, saw movement thanks to a recent railroad merger.

“For many years, you have heard that Amtrak would be coming through this area. However, it was never really a viable option with Kansas City Southern owning the rail. So, with the merger of KCS and Canadian Pacific, Canadian Pacific is now a willing partner,” Skaggs said.

He noted the group’s belief that Amtrak rail service would be a positive impact on the local economy and community. However, he noted they have yet to iron out the details.

“We’re not ready to work through where the stops are going to go,” he said.

Former Mayor Lo Walker advocateed for passenger rail service for several years during his term in office. Walker noted several times that Bossier could be the next site for Amtrak, as the railway is looking to connect the current gap in rail service between Marshall, Texas and Meridian, Miss. 

As recently as 2020, the Shreveport Economic Recovery Taskforce, made of several local business leaders developed an economic recovery plan based on infrastructure. Their report specifically mentioned passenger rail service. 

Their report noted that rail service between downtown Dallas and Downtown Shreveport would “be the first step to creating high-speed rail between the two cities providing the Shreveport-Bossier region with easy access to one of the largest global airports in the world.”

CDC is a private, nonprofit, member-supported corporation that serves the economic, community, workforce, transportation and business development needs of 10 parishes in Northwest Louisiana.

— Stacey Tinsley, BIZ. Magazine

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