RAIL PLANNING: Is it a hint that the state's rail planning website features only freight carriers?

Given the iffiness of continuing work on road projects on account of federal revenue issues, it’s hard to imagine Arkansas ever having the federal backing (state money, hah!) to move forward with high-speed passenger rail service in the state. But we can dream, can’t we?

To that end, the Arkansas Highway and TRANSPORTATION Department will hold public meetings next week to talk about Arkansas rail service. They’ll be at 4 p.m. Tuesday at the Arkansas Transit Association, 620 W. Broadway, in North Little Rock and at 4 p.m. Thursday at 121 Riverfront Drive, Fort Smith. More meetings are scheduled at other cities in October.

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The public is invited to attend and make comments. Existing study teams will talk about their work. The Highway Department is the lead agency for freight and passenger service planning and the plan is necessary to qualify for federal money. The study of high-speed passenger rail includes the corridor from Little Rock to Texarkana and the possibility of including a corridor from Little Rock to Memphis. The only passenger rail service in the state currently is the Amtrak route along the Union Pacific line that cuts a line across the street from Texarkana through Little Rock to Walnut Ridge and beyond in its route to St. Louis.

Details are available here.

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