BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — A major project that could possibly ease traffic is getting some major help. Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome announced the Baton Rouge to New Orleans passenger rail got 20 million dollars to jump-start the project.
“The way to get from New Orleans to Baton Rouge is I-10 and maybe Airline Highway if you really want to take the scenic route,” said Mark Armstrong with the mayor’s office.
Thanks to the grant awarded to advance the Baton Rouge to New Orleans passenger rail project, changes are coming.
“So the New Orleans to Baton Rouge rail line is something that we’ve been talking about for a long time, and it’s something that needed to come back for a long time,” said Armstrong.
The $20 million USDOT RAISE Grant will jump-start the project. Armstrong said this is a small piece of a bigger picture, the grant provides necessary funding for real estate acquisition, design, and construction of the proposed Baton Rouge and Gonzales train stations.
“This is a game changer for our economy and connecting this region like never before,” said Armstrong.
The service proposes two stops in Baton Rouge, one downtown and the other in the health district.
“Our Lady of the Lake, children’s hospital, Baton Rouge General, Ochsner, it’s becoming a health corridor. We employ lots of people, we have people that come in from lots of places from New Orleans who come and use our health district,” said Armstrong.
Armstrong said this funding will quickly move phases of the project forward.
“It’s going to help commuters, it’s going to help tourists, it’s going to help our economy, it’s going to give people options,” said Armstrong.
Of the $20 million RAISE Grant, $13 million will be utilized to plan and construct the rail platform and canopy with associated ADA accessibility. The City-Parish is matching funds of $3.25 million for a $16.25 million initial project.
The Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act, enacted in November 2021, provides a once-in-a-generation opportunity to inject significant funding into alternative transportation modes central to the future of America’s transportation system.