Passenger rail service needed

The main route where Louisiana could use passenger rail service is between Baton Rouge and New Orleans, right through St. Charles Parish.

And it has been proposed but at the present time its future is in doubt.

Gov. Bobby Jindal has opposed it, apparently because of the problems he is having in balancing the state budget. He hesitates to budget more expense to a project not expected to pay for itself.

But there would be so many benefits to passenger rail service along the route that the possibility should certainly be delved into more. Many residents of Baton Rouge who now work in New Orleans, and there are many, should leap at the opportunity to use it.

What a convenience it would be for them to board the train in the morning and head for their destination south without fighting the traffic on overcrowded Interstate 10, enjoying the ride while taking care of their internet and cell phone needs. And then when they arrive, go to their final destination by cab or street car and avoid paying to park their cars all day. And the gasoline and auto wear and tear expense they would save would be overwhelming.

The eight trains that would be used would travel at a speed of 79 miles per hour and make the entire trip from mid-Baton Rouge to the Union Passenger Terminal in mid-town New Orleans in about 1-hour, 25 minutes, not subject to delays from Interstate traffic hang-ups which happen so often.

Total cost for riding the train would be $10 which would be a bargain considering the expenses otherwise.

It looks like a plus, plus opportunity to bring a service they need to the people in our area. The savings could mount in easing the crush of traffic on Interstate 10 and saving money on future enlargements and repairs. And think of the money saved the people in gasoline and automobile wear and tear.

The route proposed would have six stops for the trains at stations along the route. None would be in St. Charles since the route of I-10 which it follows is in the wetlands along Lake Pontchartrain. But it would certainly be very accessible to the parish at stops in LaPlace and Kenner, right next door.

Train travel is very popular in the northeast where most people use it to access their jobs, shopping and other needs. Of course, the population there is much greater but southeast Louisiana has a concentrated area that is growing into a regional metropolitan area that could benefit greatly by it.

Considering all of the expenses and inconveniences we experience on our roadways here, it could be well worthwhile. We need to find ways to make it work.


About Allen Lottinger 433 Articles
Publisher Emeritus

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