The Regional Railroad Authority of East Mississippi would oversee about 45 miles of track from Waynesboro to Lucedale, where existing lines serve port facilities in Pascagoula and Mobile.
The group is seeking $225 million in federal transportation funds.
Rail authority officials tell The Mississippi Press that the money will help with planning and for engineering services needed to apply for other funding.
Areas along the rail route are hoping for spin-off companies, such as container yards, to boost their economies as the Pascagoula and Mobile ports expand.
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