TUSCALOOSA, AL (WBRC) - The following is a press release from Tuscaloosa city officials:
The City of Tuscaloosa was recently awarded $314,457 in grant funds from the Southern Rail Commission's State of Alabama Delegation for a new multimodal station in Alberta's tornado recovery zone.
The grant funds, along with additional funding from the city, will be used in the construction of a new train station in the former Leland Shopping Center. At nearly 3,000 square feet, the station could become the new home of Amtrak in Tuscaloosa. The City is close to completing negotiations with Amtrak and the owners of the property.
Currently, Amtrak's Tuscaloosa station sees roughly 12,000 passengers each year. The new station would allow for significant growth in Tuscaloosa rail transit passengers.
The funds for this project were made possible by a 2006 Congressional earmark, spearheaded by the late James William "Bill" McFarland Sr. and former U.S. Rep. Spencer Bachus, and allocated by the Southern Rail Commission.
"On behalf of our City Council, I want to thank Gov. Robert Bentley and the members of the Alabama Delegation of the Southern Railroad Commission for their advocacy of this recovery project. In particular, Commissioner Billy McFarland was instrumental in ushering our grant application through the process," said Tuscaloosa Mayor Walter Maddox. "In the next 12 to 24 months, we hope to begin construction of a new train station that represents the vibrancy of our City, and the SRC's award will be a key reason why."
Tuscaloosa's award from SRC is the largest in the state of Alabama. Three other cities – Birmingham, Mobile and Anniston – also received funds.
The City has approved an additional $1.5 million for the station's construction. A timeline for completion has not been established.