Trains For America

More choices for better transportation

Louisiana to seek New Orleans-Baton Rouge passenger rail line from federal stimulus pot that Jindal called wasteful

My, my, my. Here is the latest transportation development from the New Orleans Times-Picayune. (The comments are pretty entertaining as well)

BATON ROUGE – Louisiana’s transportation department plans to request federal dollars for a New Orleans to Baton Rouge passenger rail service from the same pot of railroad money in the president’s economic stimulus package that Gov. Bobby Jindal criticized as unnecessary pork on national television Tuesday night.

The high-speed rail line, a topic of discussion for years, would require $110 million to upgrade existing freight lines and terminals to handle a passenger train operation, said Mark Lambert, spokesman for the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development.

Now, some analysis.

It’s a good idea for several reasons.

  • The Gulf coast is still rebuilding after Katrina and Rita.
  • Baton Rouge is close to New Orleans. Travel time of about one hour.
  • Provides for low cost housing to be built along the route. That would repoace stock lost in the Ninth Ward. (The entertainment industry in N. O. depends on folks who live in cheap housing).
  • Of course it creates more upscale development opportunities.
  • Rail lines already exist. No land cost and reduced environmental concerns.
  • That one hour with CONVENTIONAL equipment. No European style HSR expense.
  • Could be the first stage of an upgraded rail route to Houston. Again, the lines already exist. Might also be extended to Mobile. Alabama and Mississippi already have a legal entity for such projects. There is also an expansion possibility towards DFW.

Filed under: Amtrak, Passenger Rail Transportatio Policy, Regional USA Passenger Rail, United States High Speed Rail

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February 2009