Officials Discuss Amtrak's Presence in Panhandle

By: Ashley Arnold Email
By: Ashley Arnold Email

The Bay County Transportation Planning Organization discussed current efforts to restore Amtrak service to the Panhandle Wednesday.

A representative from the Mobile, AL mayor's office talked about the benefits the Sunset Limited's restoration would bring to the area, but a few members of the TPO say they aren't quite read to rush out and buy a ticket.

"We would like to have it back but we want it back on a daily level, we don't want it back twice weekly," said Dan Dealy of Mobile, AL. "We want it back daily between New Orleans and Jacksonville."

Since Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005, the route has been canceled. The hurricane took out a lot of the tracks, but while they've been replaced, the service hasn't been brought back.

Officials from the Gulf Coast region are trying to convince the US Senate to come up with the extra money to restore service.

While everyone believes the project could be good for the region, some have expressed skepticism about how it will work out.

"Well it can't hurt, but I would hope that something else doesn't go lacking because they're taking that money and putting it towards this," said Panama City mayor Greg Brudnicki.

But everyone agreed that now is the time to start asking questions and making requests, as the board unanimously passed a resolution supporting the restoration of Amtrak service without any local financial obligations.

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