Renovating Rail in Southeast Arkansas
Officials in southeast Arkansas are hoping the renovation of an industrial railroad line will help generate economic development in 2014. The rail line links Louisiana's Lake Providence port on the Mississippi River to the Union Pacific Railroad in McGehee.
The line is used primarily to transport agriculture products, such as cotton and timber. Both of those products have a strong tie to the development of McGehee. The town boomed when railroads were first introduced to the area to ship those goods in the late 19th century.
Glen Bell is the executive director of the Southeast Arkansas Economic Development District. Bell told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette Arkansas has given $4.5 million and Louisiana has provided $2 million to renovate the 90-mile line.
The rail line continues from McGehee to Pine Bluff, where it meets with two other Union Pacific lines that provide access throughout the state and into the region. The renovations should be complete sometime next year.