WASHINGTON, D.C.—Congressman Allen Boyd (D-North Florida) today announced that the President withdrew his veto threat and signed the Railroad Safety Enhancement Act of 2008 (HR 2095), which would require Amtrak to submit a plan to Congress for restoring passenger rail service between New Orleans, Louisiana, and Sanford, Florida.
The North Florida corridor has not been served by Amtrak since the close of Amtrak’s Sunset Limited service after Hurricane Katrina.
“I am pleased that the President dropped his veto threat and signed this important bill into law,” said Congressman Boyd. “Since the close of Sunset Limited, I often hear from constituents about the possibility of restoring passenger rail service to North Florida. This study will get the ball rolling on ways to restore this service that will most benefit the people of North Florida and help to make train travel an affordable option in our region.”
The language in HR 2095 requires Amtrak to submit a plan to Congress that will include a projected timeline for restoring service between New Orleans and Sanford, as well as the associated costs for reinstating this service.
In developing the plan, Amtrak will consult with representatives from the States of Florida, Louisiana, Alabama, and Mississippi, railroad carriers whose tracks may be used for such service, and rail passengers.
Prior to its closing in 2005, Sunset Limited’s North Florida stops included Crestview, Chipley, Tallahassee, Madison, Lake City, and Jacksonville.
Amtrak recently reported a ridership record for Fiscal Year 2008, which ended on September 30, with 28.7 million passengers, largely due to high gas prices.