A new poll shows wide support for passenger rail service between New Orleans and Baton Rouge.
The poll, conducted in February with 1,050 registered voters in the parishes along the proposed route, was sponsored by the Southern Rail Commission, the Baton Rouge Area Chamber and Greater New Orleans Inc.
A news release from GNO Inc. said the poll found that 85 percent of respondents think the service is important or very important. Sixty-three percent said they would use the train, and over 80 percent supported the state including passenger rail in the transportation options currently provided along with highways and airports.
Eighty percent thought a passenger rail service between the two cities would spur economic development, while 82 percent said it would reduce congestion on Interstate 10. More than 80 percent were more likely to support passenger train service if the trains were used for evacuation of citizens in a future hurricane.
Residents living along the train route agreed that they would ride the train to sporting events in each city. More than 70 percent said they would use the train for events at the Superdome and Arena for sporting events and more than 60 percent said they would ride the train to see LSU sporting events in Baton Rouge.
Nearly 80 percent said they would support using state funds to match federal funds available under a program for infrastructure improvements needed for the service.
The route would operate on existing tracks with stops in Baton Rouge, Gonzales, LaPlace, Louis Armstrong International airport, Kenner and the Union Passenger Terminal in downtown New Orleans. According to a 2014 study, the capital investment for starting the service would be $262 million with federal funds underwriting up to half of that amount.
Initially, the service will have two daily round trips at speeds of 79 miles per hour. More than 60 percent of the respondents in the poll said they would like to see more trips each day. The ticket price would be between $10 and $15 each way.
To read the full article click here.