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Shreveport-Bossier leaders to revisit idea of passenger rail service through the area

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(Photo source: KTBS 3 News) (Photo source: KTBS 3 News)
SHREVEPORT - BOSSIER CITY, La. (KTBS) -

It could be 'full steam ahead' for a passenger rail system through Shreveport-Bossier.

But it all depends on the results of an upcoming feasibility study.

The North Louisiana Council of Governments (NLCOG) met Thursday in Shreveport to choose who will conduct the study.

State Rep. Roy Burrell is credited with being the person to put steam behind a passenger rail system from Dallas-Fort Worth, through Shreveport-Bossier and on to Meridian, MS.

A consulting firm called HNTB Corporation was chosen from three firms who gave presentations at the NLCOG Transportation Policy Committee meeting.

HNTB will be looking at a variety of factors including public interest, infrastructure, challenges with freight rail, and funding sources.

The firm says this type of rail not only moves people, but it also moves economies, and Burrell agrees.

He says this type of transportation would open up a entirely new world for everyone.

"One of the big drivers for me is that I can get on the train here and I could have a job within two hours and be there and come back home and sleep in my own bed and spend my money in my own area. So I think that's so important."

"Most people, if you can work or for leisure on the train, it provides an opportunity to do that. We're talking about rail cars that Amtrak has that can provide that Wi-Fi and so forth," says John Basilica, HNTB Gulf Coast District Leader.

The firm will also have to look at the sustainability of a project of this significance, as well as conduct an environmental study as part of the feasibility study.

Burrell says $250,000 has been set aside through the LA DOTD to pay for the study.

The next step will be for NLCOG to formally enter into a contract with HNTB before the study can officially begin.

It's expected to take from 8 months to a year to complete.

Two other firms - Burt-Kleinpeter and Moore & Associates - were also considered for the job.

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