Posts Tagged ‘Austin Texas’

Texas Lawmakers Want Hearing on Rail Corridor

August 29, 2019

A bipartisan group of 20 Texas state legislators is seeking a hearing on what it would take to create a rail passenger corridor between Austin and San Antonio.

The lawmakers delivered a letter to House Transportation Committee chairman Terry Canales asking him to set hearings on the matter.

The hearings could be held before the 2021 legislative session if approved by the chairman and the speaker of the house.

Texas Rail Associates chairman Peter LeCody described the letter as “an amazing show of bi-partisan support from members of the Texas House that realize we can’t move people and goods in the I-35 corridor by only laying down more concrete and asphalt. Leaders realize there must be multi-modal answers in the future so we don’t have a traffic meltdown.”

Planners have noted that in the next 50 years the population along the I-35 corridor will grow by 2 million.

Rail advocators said the region already has some of the worst traffic congestion in Texas.

TRA also is pushing for the transportation committee to move on the Texas-Oklahoma Passenger Rail Study, which was completed in 2017 but has not been acted upon.

The group also called for movement on an initial study by the I-20 Corridor Council on rail service from Dallas-Fort Worth to East Texas with multi-state memorandum of understandings in place for Louisiana and eastward, and for the legislature to act on the stalled 2011 Texas Department of Transportation study on rail service between Houston and Austin.

Amtrak Studies Austin-San Antonio Service

January 10, 2017

Amtrak has agreed to study launching a commuter rail service between San Antonio and Austin, Texas, that would ease highway congestion between the two cities.

Amtrak logoTexas Public Radio reported that officials in the two cities turned to Amtrak after a regional rail commuter plan known as the Lone Star Rail project collapsed.

At the request of the Alamo Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, Amtrak is studying ridership and revenue potential and how much it would cost to upgrade the Union Pacific line between the two cities, which are 80 miles apart.

The goal would be to offer a service that could average 90 miles per hour and duplicate what Lone Star Rail would have provided.

That would be a train leaving every 30 minutes during peak travel times. The service would begin in South San Antonio and terminate at Georgetown outside of Austin.

Much of this route is now served by Amtrak’s Chicago-San Antonio Texas Eagle.

Transportation officials say the commute on Interstate 35 between the two cities take two and a half hours.

The Amtrak study is expected to be completed by the middle of 2017.

San Antonio Mayor Ivy Taylor said the study is projected to cost $100,000 on the study.  Capital for track improvement and operations would come mostly from private investors.

If financing can be lined up, the service could be implemented in three to five years.

San Antonio leaders are also eyeing another rail service that would link their city with Monterrey, Mexico, via Laredo, Texas.

The concept is for high-speed rail that would operate at a top speed of 250 miles per hour making the trip in two hours.

Laredo Congressman Henry Cuellar insists that the proposal is not just a pipe dream. He said he’s met with Mexican officials, federal and state transportation officials, and private investors who would consider financing the project.

“You connect San Antonio’s large population, Laredo and, of course, Monterrey with 4.5 million individuals,” Cuellar said. “Entities like Sea World (in San Antonio), when I talk to them they’re all excited, because that means potentially a new base of customers.”

Amtrak once linked San Antonio and Laredoe with its Chicago-Laredo Inter-American. which was discontinued south of San Antonio on Oct. 1, 1981, and renamed the Eagle between San Antonio and Chicago.