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Plans moving forward for train service from New Orleans to Baton Rouge

It's been talked about for some time, but those behind the project say plans are chugging along

NEW ORLEANS — There's renewed hope regarding a passenger rail line connecting Baton Rouge and New Orleans. On Wednesday, Canadian Pacific said they're chugging along with moving plans forward. 

It's been talked about for a long time, but plans for passenger train service between the state's two largest cities is looking a bit more likely.

"This is a real exciting day for our region and for our state," said Walt Leger with New Orleans and Company.

"I stand here today to welcome Canadian Pacific as the future owner of Kansas City Southern to Louisiana, I look forward to a long and mutually beneficial and prosperous relationship with them," said Governor John Bel Edwards.

At a press conference Wednesday, it was announced Canadian Pacific is expected to take over the rail line between New Orleans and Baton Rouge. It's expected it'll take about $262 million in upgrades, but once complete, the hope is that section would turn into a new way of travel for the area's residents.

"We're talking about life-changing business opportunities, new job opportunities, expanding people's horizons and futures, this is a real opportunity to be transformative for our region," said Leger.

In addition to the Union Passenger Terminal downtown, stops could include Armstrong International, Laplace, Gonzales and downtown Baton Rouge. Leger says, for him, it's all about connectivity.

"It would create this super-region where two of the most populous cities in the state would be connected so our region would compete all over the country as it relates to business and economic opportunity," he said.

Governor Edwards, a longtime proponent of the project, says it's also about the quality of life. That now, he says, is the time to make it happen.

"I'm personally committed to establishing passenger rail that sets Louisiana on course for robust business opportunities, jobs, education and entertainment," he said.

The project is in its early stages, so no word yet on when service could begin. However, those behind the project are optimistic everything is on track, to get this dream into a reality.

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