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Don’t hold your breath waiting for SUPERTRAIN funds

The DMN throws a little cold water on the hopes of high speed rail advocates in Texas.

This month, at a speech in Austin, a top federal rail administrator charged with managing the distribution of the new grants said Texas’ application lacks the kind of political support from the governor and the Legislature that would help it compete against other states where that support has been stronger.

“There has been no central vision, no common vision for rail in Texas,” said Karen Rae, deputy commissioner for the Federal Railroad Administration. “And that kind of vision, that kind of support from the political leadership, is critical to success in our program.”

[…]

The first $8 billion of what could be several times that much money over the next five years is expected to be awarded in the next several weeks. And Texas, with its flat landscape and bulging urban populations just far enough away from each other to make high-speed rail attractive, is home to two of the eight rail corridors the U.S. government has identified as likely places to invest.

Texas has requested $1.8 billion in the current round of funding, most of it to fast-track a bullet train proposal – dubbed the Texas T-Bone – that would run trains at 220 mph from Fort Worth to San Antonio, and from Temple to Houston.

Rae said other states have done much more than Texas has to enhance their funding requests.

“Immediately after we announced this [funding] program, the state of Florida called a special session of its Legislature – and they set about addressing their laws specifically so as to make their application as strong as possible. In the Midwest, eight governors and the mayor of Chicago have formed a formal compact to work together to bring high-speed rail.”

The good news is that this is not the only time such money will be available, and we have at least taken some steps forward. Maybe seeing other states get into a position to actually start building out their networks will act as a catalyst to spur us farther along. But as with many things, a change in leadership at the top would help, too. Thanks to EoW for the link.

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2 Comments

  1. Appetitus Rationi Pareat says:

    We will be dead and buried long before we see any kind of high speed rail here in Texas. The state government is WAY too conservative and largely controlled by rural interests or suburban interests who think they are rural in nature. This state doesn’t believe in investing in a diverse transportation infrastructure, which includes high speed rail. I wish this were not the case but its reality.

  2. […] knew we weren’t going to get much in the way of funding for high speed rail in Texas, but it still kinda stings to see just how […]