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The western SUPERTRAIN

You’ve heard of the Texas T-Bone SUPERTRAIN proposal that would link up Houston. San Antonio, Austin, and Dallas. That’s already been designated as one of the high-speed rail corridors that are in line for federal funding. There’s another such corridor that includes Texas and it’s farther out west.

New Mexico, Colorado and Texas are applying for federal funds to study the viability of a high-speed rail system in the hopes of putting new life into passenger railroads in the Intermountain West.

Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., said Thursday the 720-mile high-speed rail system would travel at speeds of 110 mph to more than 200 mph from El Paso, Texas, through Albuquerque to Denver.

“The West was connected to the rest of the country by railroads. Our history is until the 1880s and the coming of the railroads, we were isolated,” Udall said. “You could view (the proposed high-speed rail corridor) as a second wave which revives the railroads that we’ve allowed to wither.”

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson and Udall, a member of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, said the three states will submit a joint pre-application Friday for up to $5 million to pay for the study.

Congress has authorized up to 11 high-speed rail corridors nationwide. Ten have been designated, and the three states hope to become home to the 11th.

“Today, you cannot get from Albuquerque to Denver by rail without changing trains in Los Angeles or Chicago, and our regional railways run from East to West, with no North-South connections,” Udall said.

[…]

The Federal Railroad Administration will decide which region gets the 11th high-speed rail corridor designation based on the strength of their applications, FRA spokesman Rob Kulat said.

New Mexico, Colorado and Texas may have competition. Kulat declined to say how many pre-applications for feasibility studies the FRA has received so far.

“Quite a few are in already, but the number is going to grow by tomorrow,” he said.

Final applications for the grants are due Aug. 24, he said.

Seems like a reasonable place for a rail corridor. I wish them luck.

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