The Texas Department of Transportation has moved one step closer towards the idea of using rail as an option to address highway congestion on Interstate 35. The news comes as the TxDOT kicks off a $14 million, two-year study to explore the possibility of passenger rail service from Oklahoma City to South Texas.
The study will examine the best possible options for the development of passenger trains that will connect metropolitan areas such as the Dallas-Fort Worth area, Austin, and San Antonio. The analysis will compare different types of services, including both a new high-speed rail system and existing Amtrak routes.
John Barton, TxDOT deputy executive director and chief engineer, says “passenger rail [is] a strategic component for the future of Texas transportation.”
The FRA launched the rail program in June of 2009. So far, the program's investments have been concentrated in six corridors, which include routes throughout the Midwest, Northeast, Northwest and in California. (You can see planned and potential routes in the map above.)
The project in California will be the nation’s first 220 mph high-speed rail system, which will connect two of the country’s largest metropolitan areas: Los Angeles and San Francisco. According to the California High-Speed Rail Authority, the 800-mile line will cut travel time from L.A. to San Francisco from seven hours via car to two hours and 40 minutes via rail.
TxDOT is already meeting with citizens along the corridor to seek input on the study. If you would like to contact a representative from TxDOT for more information, you can call (512) 463-8700.