Shreveport pulls resolution lobbying for Amtrak service

Shreveport pulls resolution lobbying for Amtrak service
(Source: KSLA News 12)
(Source: KSLA News 12)

(KSLA) - A resolution encouraging Amtrak to locate in Shreveport was put on hold Tuesday at the request of the city's mayor.

The largely symbolic resolution would have been a show of support to "secure Amtrak's thruway service at the Shreveport Intermodal Facility, to encourage Amtrak to locate its service in the City of Shreveport," the resolution goes on to say, "to demonstrate the suitability of the City of Shreveport's Intermodal Facility for such services."

Councilmen James Flurry and Jerry Bowman sponsored the resolution.

"To stop it here in Shreveport or Bossier or whatever they decide would be awesome for this city," Flurry said.

However, Mayor Ollie Tyler asked that the council to reword the resolution to include Bossier City.

"The legislation, I think, was misleading. I did want people to know we are going to be working in partnership with Bossier City to make it happen," the mayor said, noting that bringing Amtrak to Shreveport-Bossier City always has been a regional effort.

Passenger rail service has been missing from the area for decades.

The last time someone could hop on a passenger train in Shreveport or Bossier City was in 1969.

Shreveport residents Charley Sibert and Brittni Roberson don't think the service should be a thing of the past.

"People wouldn't have to drive to Marshall (Texas) to get on a train. I think it would be really neat," Sibert said.

Roberson said she could see passenger trains stopping in Shreveport being a good thing for tourism. "If they do stop here, they could walk downtown. I mean, they are opening so much down here."

Tyler said city leaders on both sides of Red River have been trying to bring passenger trains back to the area. "It's been one of those things that's been worked on for a long, long time."

Studies as recently as 2014 have been completed about the feasibility of bringing passenger services like Amtrak to Shreveport-Bossier City.

But a concrete timeline as to when the region could see passenger trains is not available.

"All I can tell you is that there are a lot of moving parts to get that done," said Tyler. 
    
It also will be expensive to bring Amtrak to Northwest Louisiana, the mayor added.

And it is not something likely to happen anytime soon.

"It may not benefit those of us today," Tyler said. "But, in the future, we want to be sure to leave something for our children, our grandchildren and the future generation."

Flurry and Bowman said they will bring a new resolution asking the council to support Amtrak, this time including Bossier City.

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