City of New Orleans

NEW ORLEANS — Mayor LaToya Cantrell today issued the following statement regarding the announcement of a pending merger between Canadian Pacific Railway and Kansas City Southern. This partnership provides an opportunity to expand rail service between New Orleans and Baton Rouge, utilizing funding as part of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) that includes approximately $66 billion in grant dollars for passenger rail services and expansion programs.   

“The recent commitment from Canadian Pacific to provide one round-trip service per day between New Orleans and Baton Rouge is a vital step forward in our continued push to link New Orleans by rail along the Gulf South,” said Mayor LaToya Cantrell. “This critical connection will expand regional transportation and employment opportunities, and can provide an additional mode of evacuation from forecasted storms, giving residents immediate transit service out of harm’s way in the event of an emergency. This is a win-win for our entire region, connecting communities through transformative infrastructure projects and by improving public safety as we continue to experience faster, more intense storms.”  

The City remains committed to expanding passenger rail service to and from New Orleans, and along the Gulf Coast. This week, James Clements, Senior Vice President of Strategic Planning and Technology Transformation for Canadian Pacific Railway, announced the commitment of one round-trip service per day between New Orleans and Baton Rouge pending a merger with Kansas City Southern. Funding for the passenger rail expansion may come from multiple sources, but the recently passed Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act offers at least $66 billion for rail and includes multiple relevant programs such as the Federal-State Partnership for Intercity Passenger Rail grants.  

The following are projected rail service benefits: 
Ensures our ability to compete as a super region while investing in connecting the two largest cities in the state  

Offers an additional, critical means of evacuation in the event of natural disasters when transporting patients to Baton Rouge hospitals 

Provides an alternative transportation link to the NOLA International Airport 

Serves as the spine of a multi-modal network that will provide employers access to a much wider, more diverse labor pool 

Provides workers with vastly increased access to jobs and affordable housing along with decreased commuting costs 

Allows riders to work while traveling, creating more productive commutes 

Predicts over 200,000 riders annually, plus additional riders for large scale events 

This initiative is a collaborative effort of partners Southern Rail Commission, SoLA Super Region Committee, Baton Rouge Area Chamber, GNO, Inc., and more.  
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