Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Non-levitating train to Disneyworld

It's almost a decade now since Bobby Jindal's fantasy nightmare about levitating trains to Disneyland killed our chance at a high speed rail project in Louisiana. At that time, the newly inaugurated President Obama had raised HOPEs that a forthcoming federal stimulus bill would fund our decades long dream of commuter rail between New Orleans and Baton Rouge as part of a longer line connecting us with Houston.   But Jindal helped introduce America to the style of paranoid obstructionism that would go on to help Republicans block a substantial portion of Obama's agenda throughout his two terms. It's been fun.

Anyway, it looks like we might be finally getting that rail service after all. It won't levitate or anything, but the plan is for these trains to actually go to Disneyworld.
Monday, the Southern Rail Commission distributed $2.5 million in federal funds to design, build and improve train stations in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. A quarter-million went to Baton Rouge to develop plans for a train station at the old Entergy campus near the corner of Government and 14th streets.

The goal is to revive the passenger route between Orlando and New Orleans, which already has lines that run to New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. There would be a separate spur for riders to commute between Baton Rouge and New Orleans.
As always with this, it's not a good idea to hold one's breath. But if you are the optimistic type you might expect to see the BR-NO line up and running around 2020 or so. 

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