News reports in the past week have indicated that the proposal to restore Amtrak service between New Orleans and Florida is gaining crucial support among Republican lawmakers along the route.
Given that both houses of Congress are controlled by Republicans that support might prove to be important in restoring intercity rail passenger service to a route that lost it after Hurricane Katrina damaged the line in August 2005.
At the time, Amtrak’s tri-weekly Sunset Limited operated along the Gulf Coast on a route between Orlando, Florida, and Los Angeles, via the Florida cities of Jacksonville and Tallahassee, and Mobile, Alabama.
The news reports have said that some lawmakers who represent the Gulf Coast region of Florida, Alabama and Mississippi, have spoken in public in favor of restoring rail service.
Passenger rail advocates have said that federal monetary support will be needed to get the service going again.
Local and state officials along the former route of the Sunset Limited east of New Orleans have cited the increased commerce and job creation that rail service could bring.
The incoming Trump administration has spoken about pushing a plan to improve the nation’s infrastructure and restoration of Gulf Coast rail passenger service might be a part of that.
However, congressional leaders have said that an infrastructure development plan will not be among the priorities of the first 100 days of the 115th Congress, which convened this past week.