Posts Tagged ‘Baton Rouge Louisiana’

Survey to Study Proposed Louisiana Route Ridership

June 10, 2020

Researchers at the University of New Orleans are sponsoring an poll to gauge potential ridership for a proposed rail link between New Orleans and Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

The data would be used to update a decade-old study that predicted the service would attract 39,000 riders per month and up to 135,000 monthly by 2038.

The latest survey will see to better define ridership than the earlier study, which used more generic national figures.

The proposed service would link to a New Orleans-Mobile, Alabama, route that the Southern Rail Commission is seeking to implement.

The Mobile service has received some federal grant money to help it get started.

The Louisiana survey is being paid for by $150,000 from the LSU Tran-SET consortium.

Poll Finds Support for Baton Route Service

April 21, 2019

A poll has found strong support for the institution of intercity rail passenger service between New Orleans and Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

The poll found 75 percent of respondents supported having a train as an alternative to driving while 85 percent said it was important or very important to have a rail service between the two cities, which are 80 miles apart.

The poll surveyed 1,050 registered voters in the area and had a margin of error of plus or minus 2.9 percent. It was sponsored by by the Southern Rail Commission, Baton Rouge Area Chamber, and GNO Inc.

Of those polled, 70 percent of respondents said they might use the train to travel to events at the Superdome and other New Orleans sporting events while 60 percent said they would ride it to attend Louisiana State University events in Baton Rouge.

A study has estimated that the service would cost $260 million to launch. It would operate two daily roundtrips.

Planning Continues for Louisiana Rail Route

June 23, 2017

The rejection of a proposed gasoline tax increase will not necessarily stop a proposed passenger train service between New Orleans and Baton Rouge, Louisiana, officials say.

The 17-cent tax hike would have raised $510 million for transportation projects, but officials say the rail service was only in the planning stages.

The officials acknowledged that for the service to begin, transportation officials will need to find funding for it.

Shawn Wilson, the Louisiana secretary of the Department of Transportation and Development, said federal funding might be able to cover most of the roughly $260 million cost of launching the service with public-private partnerships picking up some of the rest of the cost.

Louisiana would have to pay some costs and is responsible for coordinating the project.

Had the tax increase been approved, $30 million of it would have gone toward multimodal transportation, including rail service.

“We will continue to try and work to deliver it,” Wilson said. He acknowledged it could take longer to find the funding now. “It would be unfair to say this initiative relies solely on the state.”

Tommy Clark, commission of the Office of Multimodal Commerce, said the state has made some progress in convincing Amtrak and Kansas City Southern, which would have hosted the train, that the service would be worthwhile.

Clark said state officials tried to pitch to KCS that capital improvements to the rail line would provide benefit for freight transportation as well.

“We’re just at the baby steps of having those dialogues,” he said. “There are so many milestones that have to happen before even one train moves.”

The Baton Rouge Redevelopment Authority has received a $250,000 federal grant to design a train station for the project, and the city-parish put up matching funds.

A request for proposals is expected to be issued in the next two months.

FRA Grants Raise Hopes that New Rail Service is Getting Closer to Coming to Fruition

December 22, 2016

The allocation this week by the Federal Railroad Administration of $2.5 million for stations improvements has officials in Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi hopeful that intercity rail passenger service between New Orleans and Florida, and New Orleans and Baton Rouge, Louisiana, is closer to getting launched.

FRAThe service to Baton Rouge is seen as commuter service, but the service east of the Crescent City would be a restoration of an Amtrak route lost when Hurricane Katrina struck in August 2005.

Until then, Amtrak’s Sunset Limited operated between Los Angeles and Orlando, Florida, via New Orleans, Mobile, Alabama, and Tallahassee and Jacksonville, Florida.

Three cities, Baton Rouge, Gonzales and LaPlace, will split $350,000 to begin planning for passengers stations on the proposed commuter train route.

The rest of the money will be allocated to cities in Mississippi (Biloxi, Bay St. Louis, Gulfport and Pascagoula) and Mobile for station development.

Some of the grant money is being distributed to the Alabama cities of Birmingham, Tuscaloosa and Anniston for station work on the New York-New Orleans Crescent route.

Officials say it will be several years before the New Orleans-Baton Rouge service could start. Funding for the service has yet to be secured.

A study conducted in 2015 estimated the service would cost $6.7 million a year based on annual ridership of 210,000 paying a one-way fare of $10 per trip.

Restoring Amtrak service to the Gulf Coast could happen in 18 to 24 months said John Spain, a Louisiana representatives on the Southern Rail Commission.

Amtrak extended the Sunset Limited to Florida in 1993, operating tri-weekly. State-funded service to portions of the Gulf Coast from New Orleans have come and gone over the years.

The SRC noted in a 2015 report that the Sunset Limited was plagued by poor timekeeping due, in part, to freight train congestion.