Grant to fund Mississippi rail-bridge infrastructure upgrades
Bolstered by TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) funding, the upgrades could spur economic growth in southwest Mississippi while serving to repair five flawed structures along the railway between Natchez and Brookhaven. The proposal was backed by a trio of Republican Mississippi legislators: U.S. Sens. Roger Wicker and Thad Cochran, and U.S. Rep. Gregg Harper.
"South Mississippi will see substantial benefits from this TIGER grant,” Wicker said. “Increasing the productivity and safety along the Natchez Railway promises to boost economic growth throughout the entire region. I am pleased that these grants are being used to address critical gaps in rail service in our state.”
Improvements will enable railcars to increase their speeds substantially. Currently, the older bridge structures require trains to slow down to 10 mph. After the upgrades, cars can traverse the overpasses at 25 mph.
Cochran expressed satisfaction with the funding, noting that resulting service upgrades will spur economic development in neighboring jurisdictions, while Harper predicted increased traffic and job opportunities.
“More importantly, this grant assures cost-effective, reliable and safe rail service for the citizens and businesses of Adams, Franklin and Lincoln Counties,” Harper said.