RESTORE Act Funds Will Provide Necessary Planning, Surveying, and Permitting Costs for North Rail Connector Project to Proceed


WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Roger Wicker, R-Miss., and Cindy Hyde-Smith, R-Miss., and Congressman Steven Palazzo, R-Miss., today announced a $574,000 grant to the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality to fund planning, surveying, and permitting for a 4,300-foot rail connection in Jackson County.  The connection is the final component of the Port of Pascagoula’s Intermodal Improvement Project to establish a more efficient rail connection to the port.                                                                                                                                                    
The funds are being made available as part of the Resources and Ecosystems Sustainability, Tourist Opportunities, and Revived Economies of the Gulf Coast States Act of 2012 (RESTORE Act), which provides funding for Gulf Coast states affected by the Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill.
“Better rail infrastructure will help Mississippi businesses more efficiently move their products to markets and will support our ports as hubs of commerce and trade,” said Wicker. “This grant lays the groundwork for a rail link that will reduce rail congestion and improve safety.”
“This sort of investment to improve infrastructure on the Mississippi Gulf Coast is needed to realize the full potential of the Port of Pascagoula.  The planning and surveying work is an important step to making this Jackson County rail project a reality,” Hyde-Smith said.
“This project will increase commerce for the port authority and provide new opportunities in Jackson County.  These are RESTORE Act funds that will be used for another sound infrastructure investment on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, and will assist the Jackson County Port Authority in beginning a year-long multi-faceted intermodal project," Palazzo said.
This North Rail Connector–Planning Assistance grant was approved by the U.S. Treasury Department Office of Gulf Coast Restoration.
Wicker, then-Senator Thad Cochran, and Palazzo sponsored the RESTORE Act, which provided Gulf Coast states—Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, Florida and Texas—with 80 percent of the Clean Water Act fines related to the Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill. In addition, the funding supported the creation of a long-term science and fisheries endowment and the creation of Gulf Coast Centers of Excellence.