Jackson Co. supports restoring Sunset Limited

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PASCAGOULA, Miss. (AP) — Jackson County supervisors have voted to support the Southern Rail Commission's effort to study whether expanding passenger rail service along the northern Gulf Coast is feasible or economical.

The Sun Herald reports (http://bit.ly/1mU8keH ) the board of supervisors voted Monday to send a letter of support for the commission's plans to apply for a $1 million federal planning grant through the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery program.

Before Hurricane Katrina, the Sunset Limited ran from Los Angeles to Orlando, Fla., through New Orleans. Now it stops in New Orleans. The Rail Commission hopes to restore passenger service to Orlando.

The study would determine what stations along routes should be opened and how they might be restored in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.

Jackson County Supervisor Mike Mangum proposed the county send a letter of support. He said Pascagoula and perhaps Ocean Springs, both with depots, might benefit. But he also believes in rail travel.

"When you fly everywhere, you don't see any of the country," he said after the meeting.

The commission's mission is to advocate for "comprehensive rail throughout the Southeast," according to the new website it launched to feature updates on its initiatives.

It has hired a strategic consulting company to help advocate and identify opportunities for funding. It also is looking at opportunities for Texas, Georgia and Florida.

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Information from: The Sun Herald, http://www.sunherald.com

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