Rail system along I-10 is a good idea

March 28, 2014 at 11:34 am  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

Now that ex-Gov. Edwin Edwards has come back into the state’s political picture, we might point out that he offered a good idea for the state transportation infrastructure many years ago.

Back then he pushed for the construction of the Interstate 10 corridor with a passenger rail system in between the north and southbound lanes that would accommodate many of the commuters in southeast Louisiana, which at the present time seems to be growing as the most populous section of Louisiana. In later life, it may harbor one of the biggest growths in population in the nation.

When one travels along I-10 between New Orleans and Baton Rouge, he realizes that it could help to have a southeast Louisiana rail system in place to transport  some of the travelers. It is a busy highway to say the least.

Recent widening of I-10 in the Baton Rouge city limits have eased the jams that developed regularly in the past.

However, southeast Louisiana is expected to grow much more in the future and more avenues of transportation would be very beneficial.

Many commuters in southeast Louisiana could board the train and speed to their destinations with little worry about traffic jams that occur on I-10. Meanwhile, they can read the newspaper - -  ahem - -or any other literature while relaxing on the train.

Then, when their day is finished at their destination, they can merely jump aboard the train that will take them back to their home without a day filled with traffic worries along the way. It sounds like a day in which a lot can be accomplished in an easy way by a busy person.

St. Charles Parish joined the Louisiana Intrastate Rail Compact when the Parish Council approved it this month. The railway would be built with anticipated construction costs of $450 million and operation expenses of $11 million per year. The Federal Railroad Administration would be expected to cover $210 million.

Stops on the route between New Orleans and Baton Rouge would be at Louis Armstrong International Airport, LaPlace, Gonzales and two stops in Baton Rouge. Because trains would  use elevated tracks  under I-310, there would be no stop in St. Charles Parish. St. Charles residents would, however, be able to easily get on board right across the border at the airport in Kenner or in LaPlace.

We thank Edwards for his early promotion of such a forward looking advancement in southeast Louisiana. We hope it becomes a reality.

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