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Alabama delegation urges STB caution on Amtrak gulf coast decision

All members of the Alabama congressional delegation sent a letter to Cynthia Brown, chief of the Section of Administration at the Surface Transportation Board.

(VIA AMTRAK)

Led by U.S. Senator Richard Shelby, R-Ala., all nine members of the United States congressional delegation from Alabama on Monday evening sent a letter to Cynthia Brown, Chief of the Section of Administration at the Surface Transportation Board, discouraging a decision that would mandate Amtrak service along the Gulf Coast without a needed feasibility study, which would measure potential consequences for the national rail network and supply chain. The letter also cites a number of infrastructure improvements that would be necessary to mitigate the effects of passenger rail service on the Port of Mobile’s operations and related freight rail traffic.

The letter reads in part, “As proposals to initiate passenger rail service in the Gulf Coast have been discussed, multiple entities have understandably expressed concern about the impact such service would have on commerce in and around Mobile, including federal and state government officials, freight operators, the Alabama State Port Authority, and several of the Port of Mobile’s customers. In response to these concerns, Amtrak, in conjunction with CSX and Norfolk Southern, agreed to conduct a joint feasibility study to determine the impact passenger rail service would have on freight operation in Mobile. … Despite this agreement among all parties, Amtrak announced plans to begin passenger rail service without completing the ongoing study.”

The members continued, “As a delegation, we are particularly concerned about the effects of Gulf Coast passenger rail service on the Port of Mobile, which in recent years has experienced tremendous growth. … In sum, a decision by the Board to mandate Amtrak service in this case will have significant consequences for the national rail network and supply chain, as well as set a precedent for expansion of Amtrak service. We urge you to uphold the Board’s long-standing commitment to an efficient and reliable rail network.”

The congressional delegation letter was signed by U.S. Senators Richard Shelby and Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala., along with U.S. Representatives Robert Aderholt, R-Ala., Mike Rogers, R-Ala., Mo Brooks, R-Ala., Terri Sewell, D-Ala., Gary Palmer, R-Ala., Jerry Carl, R-Ala., and Barry Moore, R-Ala.

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The Alabama Political Reporter is a daily political news site devoted to Alabama politics. We provide accurate, reliable coverage of policy, elections and government.

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