The Rail Authority of East Mississippi has been scrutinizing market demand and economic data for four years. It will soon initiate its comprehensive feasibility study for a railroad line from Meridian to Waynesboro.
The 56-mile track would connect the Meridian Southern Railroad near Waynesboro to the Mississippi Export Railroad near Lucedale, and create a continuous track from Meridian to Pascagoula.
RAEM says the most important component of the feasibility study is an environmental assessment to determine if the project meets federal environmental standards.
“Before we can begin construction, we have to gain clearance from the Federal Rail Administration and prove the project complies with environmental regulations,” said Larry Gandy, RAEM’s executive director. “It’s an expensive endeavor, but it’s an enormous milestone for the project.”
The Mississippi Legislature provided $1.5 million to pay for the environmental assessment.