United States Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison has a longstanding reputation as a supporter of sensibler transportation policy, so her endorsement of the Texas T-bone is not exactly a surprise. Nonetheless, in light of the BNSF CEO’s suggestion that there was no Washington movement in favor of HSR in Texas, this is important.
Or, if the idea is already DOA, there is no political risk in getting behind it. For the professional political analyst, the glass is always half-empty.
The story comes from the Temple Daily Telegram.
During a press conference at the Easterwood Airport in College Station, Hutchison said she thinks this vision will help stop the congestion in urban areas of Texas. She said she hopes some of the $8 billion in federal stimulus money set aside this year for high-speed rail projects could be used for the Texas route.
Meanwhile, San Antonio Business has a complete report on legislative happenings that deal with passenger rail, especially the Austin San Antonio corridor.
By allocating the additional $8.7 million, though, the Legislature clearly is signaling to TxDOT that the San Antonio-Austin passenger rail project is the top priority.
TxDOT already is studying several route alternatives to relocate Union Pacific Corp.‘s tracks between San Antonio and Austin. The preliminary cost estimate is $1.7 billion, said Milloy, who as corridor director also provides staff support to the Austin-San Antonio Intermunicipal Commuter Rail District.The $182 million rail relocation fund can be multiplied many times if it can be transformed into a bond program. The state must find a way to convince the capital markets that the Legislature will continue to add funding in future sessions, Milloy explained, so that land can be purchased and tracks laid.