The fate of Tate County’s rail service will be determined this week, according to Senator Steve Hale.
After a $30 million bond issue that is intended to help the North Central Mississippi Rail Authority purchase the length of railroad from Southaven to Canton passed the House, it is now in the Senate’s hands to determine the amount of the bond issue, if it is decided to issue one at all.
“This is a year that Tate County has a lot at stake in the bonding process,” Tate County’s Rail Authority representative Tim Climer said.
In the midst of conference week, Sen. Hale said he and his fellow legislators are working diligently to come up with a viable solution for the railroad.
As a Tate Countian and a past Senatobia mayor who participated in promoting the rail line, Sen. Hale said he is very hopeful about its future.
“It’s a valuable asset to current and potential users,” Hale said.
Hale acknowledged that the Senate has taken a more conservative approach to bond issues in the last couple of years, but said he was uncertain if that will affect the railroad decision.
Grenada Railway (GRYR), an affiliate of V&S Railway and railroad salvage company A&K Railroad Materials, currently owns the rail line.
Since its acquiring of the line, GRYR has twice attempted to abandon the 86-mile stretch of railroad from Grenada to Canton, which has not been used since 2011.
As a solution, the Rail Authority is seeking state aid in purchasing the entire 187 miles of the line.
According to Hale, a decision will have to be made by Saturday, March 29, when Hale said all reports on the matter must be filed.