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TimothyBoone / The New Orleans Advocate

NEWORLEANS-- Startup costs for a passenger train linking Baton Rouge and New Orleans on existing freight tracks would be $262 million, about half a previous estimate, with federal funds underwriting up to 80 percent of that amount, according to a rail study released Tuesday.

The study by HNTB Corp., an engineering firm with offices across the U.S., said the cost is substantially less than the $448 million estimated in a 2010 study for the state of Louisiana.

'Our reaction is very positive,' said John Spain, executive vice president of the Baton Rouge Area Foundation, one of the groups that commissioned the HNTB study. 'There is a lot of interest in a passenger train and still a lot of support.'

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