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We may miss the SUPERTRAIN

Dammit.

As we have reported here often, the federal government is about to dump a lot of money on states to develop a handful of high-speed passenger rail corridors, and the good news for us is that Texas is home to two of the 11 routes highlighted for special focus. (Click here for the feds’ plan: hsrstrategicplan.pdf.)

The bad news? As I wrote in a short piece for the newspaper this morning, Texas is so poorly positioned to build its rail lines, it’s all but certain to be shut out of the big money. (Another take on the same theme, from San Antonio, is here.)

The reason for this, in short, is that other states are way ahead of us in laying the groundwork for building rail infrastructure and dealing with the funding issues for same. Christof gave a to-do list awhile ago. And we did at least get a bill passed and signed to authorize a study of high speed rail. But that’s just a baby step, and several other states are far ahead of us. We’ve got a lot of catching up to do, or we’ll lose out on a lot of federal dollars in the next few years. That would be a huge missed opportunity, and a real shame.

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4 Comments

  1. lexslamman says:

    It is doubtful that much – if any – of the first round of funding will go anywhere out of California, the midwest, Florida and the mid-Atlantic. These areas have been planning for rail improvements for so long, and in some cases have actually purchased right-of-way for these lines. Don’t despair, though, there is a bill in the House Transportation and Infrastructure committee right now that would put more funds toward constructing high speed lines and mass transit: The Surface Transportation Authorization Act of 2009. If passed, HSR would get $50 billion over six years. Public transit in general would be given almost $100 billion additionally. If we want to get serious about building a new national infrastructure for private enterprise to grow on, here’s a good chance to move in the right direction.

  2. […] This would be part of the South Central Corridor that also includes the Texas T-bone and Little Rock, Arkansas. Nice to see the other states involved are doing their part. I hope their prospects for getting the funding are better than ours. […]

  3. […] Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood saying that they’ll consider proposals that aren’t as far along as some others, who knows, we may get lucky. Here’s hoping. The DMN gave this an editorial nod on Friday, […]

  4. […] I hope this increases Texas’ chances of getting SUPERTRAIN […]