Money for train station upgrades awarded to Bay St. Louis, Gulfport, and Pascagoula for Gulf Coast train plan
The Southern Rail Commission will award grant funding from the Federal Railroad Administration to the cities of Gulfport, Miss. Bay St. Louis, Miss., Pascagoula, Miss., and Birmingham, Ala. to complete construction and enhance accessibility for each of their local passenger train stations.
SRC will award a total of $953,338 in four grants: Gulfport will receive $246,500, Bay St. Louis will receive $270,000, Pascagoula will receive $186,838 and Birmingham will receive $250,000. Each of these grants required a local match of the same amount.
The grant funding allows for investments in existing station rail facilities that ensure safe access and better connectivity to and from the station, including amenities such as lighting, sidewalks, parking areas and surrounding area development, which could improve ridership potential and expand the economic opportunity that comes with station redevelopment.
“As we anticipate the return of Gulf Coast service in early 2022, I am so proud to provide this funding to these cities which leverages their local investment in preparing their stations to be ready for the return of passenger rail,” said SRC Chairman and Mississippi Commissioner Knox Ross. “Local leaders have been committed to these projects and have expressed incredible enthusiasm about the economic growth that passenger rail will bring to our member states and the Gulf Coast.”
“Birmingham is a central transport hub in the South, and we fully understand the vitality that investments in transit-oriented development can bring,” said SRC Secretary and Alabama Commissioner Stephen McNair. “Birmingham’s project will create seamless connections for travelers between long distance passenger rail and local transit service through its beautiful multimodal station.”
Earlier this year, Amtrak announced their intent to begin passenger rail service between New Orleans and Mobile in January 2022.
Amtrak also made a commitment to invest in completing all needed repairs within the railroad path of travel and constructing new accessible, well-lit, ADA compliant platforms.
The funding for the first three years of operations for the New Orleans to Mobile service has been secured, but the start of service is pending a decision by the Surface Transportation Board on Amtrak’s right of access to operate passenger service along the Gulf Coast corridor, due to be decided in December 2021.
This allotment represents the second round of grant funding by the SRC who previously awarded $525,000 to four entities for station area planning. The SRC anticipates awarding a third round of grants in 2022.