A commuter rail line between Galveston and Houston has been on the drawing board for so many years that many people have come to think of it as the community’s longest-running fantasy.
But Galveston Mayor Lyda Ann Thomas and City Manager Steve LeBlanc returned from Washington, D.C., with the impression that the rail project has a better chance of getting federal funding than any other transportation project.
Thomas and LeBlanc visited officials in Washington about a long list of requests for funds to help the area recover from Hurricane Ike. On that list is $10 million for a preliminary engineering study to run a commuter service along the Galveston-Houston & Henderson line, which runs alongside state Highway 3.
The Galveston representatives carried a letter in support of the commuter rail project that had been signed by the mayors of League City, Texas City, La Marque, Dickinson and Webster, as well as County Judge Jim Yarbrough and Harris County Commissioner Sylvia Garcia. The Galveston representatives bumped into members of the Galveston County Commissioners Court, who were making similar requests for help recovering from the storm.
The commuter rail line would be built in two phases: Galveston to League City, and then from League City to downtown Houston.
The Galveston City Council approved that study back in December. The story notes that the cost of building this line is considerably less than the cost of widening I-45 to handle the same amount of traffic, which it puts at $2.2 billion. Here’s hoping they get their request. Thanks to Hair Balls for the link.