Southern Rail Commission holds first meeting since inspection ri - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Southern Rail Commission holds first meeting since inspection ride

Smith says the line could return as soon as two years. (Photo source: WLOX News) Smith says the line could return as soon as two years. (Photo source: WLOX News)
OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) -

The discussion of coast passenger rail service continues, as Ocean Springs plays host at a Southern Rail Commission quarterly meeting.

SRC board members from neighboring states met in Ocean Springs for the first meeting since an inspection line ran through the state.

The proposed passenger service dominated conversation. 

"Just think how wonderful that would be to jump on a train and go to New Orleans for a Saints game," said Ocean Springs Mayor, Connie Moran.

As of now, anything is possible. Moran says the line would prove to be a huge benefit for the city, even if it didn't make daily stops within city limits.

"Perhaps we could have it on the weekends, or perhaps we could have it as well for large events, like the Peter Anderson Festival or Cruisin' the Coast," said Moran.

Though several different options present numerous routes, nothing is final. 

"Mississippi is the key player," said Knox Ross, commission board member and Pelahatchie mayor. 

According to Ross, although infrastructure does need to be improved along the line, Mississippi's stops are in fantastic condition.

"All that is there, and all they need is a train to bring those people to the coast," said Ross.

The next step is a trip to Washington, and leaders are working quickly to  get everything done as soon as possible.

Transportation for America Chairman John Robert Smith says the line could come back as soon as two years. 

Smith says he was blown away by what he saw on the inspection ride through Mississippi.

"That kind of public support is transformational," said Smith.

The support may be just what's needed to put Amtrak on a fast track to rolling through the coast once again.

According to those at the meeting, the next steps include getting the state of Florida fully involved and finding the proper funding for the line.

Copyright 2016 WLOX. All rights reserved.

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