TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WIAT) — The City of Tuscaloosa received a grant to help build a new train station in Alberta. The funds comes from the Southern Rail Commission. The new station is intended to become the new home of Amtrak in Tuscaloosa. City leaders want to build the train station in the former Leland Shopping Center.
City councilman Kip Tyner says it is time for a change. He says travel business is down at the current Amtrak station off Greensboro Avenue. The station handles about 12,000 passengers each year, and the city estimates that a new station across town in Alberta would bring significant growth in Tuscaloosa rail transit passengers.
Tyner says the city of Tuscaloosa received a grant of almost $315,000 to help build a new train station in Alberta. The grant requires a 50 percent match from the city, and will be added to the $1.5 million dollars the city has already allocated for the station’s construction. Tyner says the train station could attract many other businesses.
“I’ve heard already about a possible hotel, a restaurant, a coffee shop, a rental car place, and a brew pub. I don’t even know about all the inquiries that have come to our department of economic development,” Tyner said.
Danny Reed is the manager at Yourway Furniture in Alberta. He says a train station is just what this part of town needs for economic growth.
“Well anytime you can have progress in your community is always a great thing. And we really need more businesses and more people in this area. And with a train station, thats going to bring more people and hopefully more businesses to this part of town,” Reed said.
The city is close to completing negotiations with Amtrak and the owners of the property.