Mississippi Senator Roger Wicker (R-Miss) spoke at the hearing on Tuesday for the Surface Transportation Board (STB) regarding the petition to allow Amtrak to provide transportation on the Gulf Coast.
The route is planned to consist of two roundtrips per day between New Orleans, La., and Mobile, Ala., with four stops in Mississippi.
The mentioned tracks have previously been used primarily by CSX Transportation, Inc., and Norfolk Southern Railroad, which has sparked disputes in the past between the companies and Amtrak.
Wicker explained that the option of transportation has been closed after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, but that it is a viable possibility for passengers to use the service once again.
“I’m confident that the Gulf Coast Rail Corridor can accommodate passenger rail service. Clearly, it ran before Hurricane Katrina. And I appreciate that the existing rail infrastructure may impose certain limitations, but I want to emphasize that this endeavor is not a zero-sum game,” Wicker said in Tuesday’s hearing.
The next hearing will be on March 9 and will result in the board making a final decision on if Amtrak will be able to use the tracks on the Gulf Coast.
Watch Wicker’s full remarks below: