BATON ROUGE – The U.S. Department of Transportation announced the allocation of $20 million in Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) grant funding to advance the Baton Rouge to New Orleans rail project.
RAISE grants are intended to help communities modernize their infrastructure, and in Louisiana, the funds will be used to advance the real estate acquisition, design, and construction of train stations in both Baton Rouge and Gonzales in anticipation of Amtrak’s operation of passenger rail service connecting the regions of Baton Rouge to New Orleans.
“The Southern Rail Commission commends Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome of the City of Baton Rouge/ East Baton Rouge Parish and Mayor Barney Arceneaux of the City of Gonzales for seeking these grants and providing the necessary local matching funds; and we greatly appreciate our partners at Transportation for America and Sustainable Strategies for their hard work and grant writing support. These combined efforts resulted in this major step forward,” said Knox Ross, chairman of the Southern Rail Commission. “Connecting our major cities in Louisiana with passenger rail has been a priority project for the Southern Rail Commission over the last decade. We previously secured $375,000 in grants from the Federal Railroad Administration for Baton Rouge to develop master plans for two stations, and for Gonzales and Laplace to begin planning their stations. We are excited about this continuing progress and investment to bring this service to reality.”
The Baton Rouge to New Orleans rail project envisions twice-daily trips with stops at stations in Baton Rouge’s downtown and health district, Gonzales, LaPlace, Louis Armstrong International Airport and the Union Passenger Terminal in New Orleans, with further connections to other Amtrak destinations.
The project is anticipated to serve as a catalyst for economic development by offering improved access to jobs and economic opportunity, while also serving the region’s evacuation strategy.
To date, the SRC has been successful with aiding communities within the corridor in securing RAISE, CRISI, TOD/RIFF, REHAB, and Opportunity Zone grant funding to advance the project.