Happening Now

Take the Train Next Time, Jack

June 28, 2024

by Joe Aiello / Director of Community Engagement & Organizing


…since the Gulf Coast has had passenger rail service.

Or, at least, it just feels that way. Doesn’t it, Rose?

So, all kidding aside, this feels like just another in a long line of “bad” weeks for advocates and supporters on all levels when it comes to getting this train back on track. It’s being reported, by multiple outlets, that District 6 City Councilor Josh Woods is a “no” vote for the current funding proposal. That would make 3 unofficial public nos, and enough to kill the project due to the need of a super majority vote by the Council.

Now remember, this is the same chamber (albeit a few different Councilors) that voted 6-1 in favor back in February 2020. And that vote was staring down the double-barrel of both the Port of Mobile and the host railroads - along with a Governor who wouldn’t touch this issue with your ten-foot pole.

Yet, just four years later, all that has changed. The Port & freights are on board. Even the once hostile Governor’s office has been on record in recent weeks to discuss potential future funding agreements. There is still time to fight & advocate for the return of service before an official vote takes place in the Government Plaza Auditorium in the coming weeks.

And that is where the work of champion advocates can turn the tide. Once such champion is Bryan Fuenmayor and his fellow leaders at Mobile for Amtrak. If the hearts and minds of the current opponents are to be swayed, it will be from their efforts. They have built up a social media following of nearly 800 people through their FB page and continue to spread the message that this is not over yet.

I have been joining calls with Bryan and representatives from Amtrak to discuss further steps and how we can help from the national office. Once such a way will be the creation of an online “facts based” petition to continue to hammer home what will be lost if the Council shoots this down - so stay tuned for that.

Like always, we will continue to ask you all to make your voices heard.