Passenger rail service would cost $262 million

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) – A study finds startup costs for a passenger train linking Baton Rouge and New Orleans on existing freight tracks would be $262 million with federal funds underwriting up to 80 percent of that amount.

The study by HNTB Corp. said the cost is substantially less than the $448 million estimated in a 2010 study for the state of Louisiana.

The Advocate reports ridership for twice daily service is estimated at 210,000 in the first year.

The service would include stops in between the two cities, and could ultimately grow to more frequent service with a possible station near the New Orleans International Airport.

New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu said the study shows that passenger rail in south Louisiana is possible.

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