People living in the Florida Panhandle may have a new way to travel in the near future.
Amtrak hasn’t served people in the Panhandle since Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans a decade ago. But Amtrak officials and the Southern Rail Commission recently inspected the track and its previous designation stops with a plan for bringing the railway back.
Officials are currently searching for destinations and stops that benefit both the railway and its passengers. The proposed route stretches from New Orleans to Jacksonville and would help people travel across eastern Florida and to other states.
U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown (D-Fla.) said the railway would also serve as a form of transportation in times of emergency and natural disaster.
“We need to be able to move the people (to safety),” she said.
Ken McHugh, an Amtrak official, said that if the train is going to serve the Panhandle again soon, now is the best chance it has at doing so.
“If it’s gonna happen anytime soon, now’s the time,” McHugh said.
He said that the right tools are available to execute the plan.
“This area of the country is grossly underserved in terms of rail,” McHugh said.