November 13, 2019 - TRA Newswire -

The long awaited 2019 Texas Rail Plan has been released by the Texas Department of Transportation. The draft document is now open for review. Public comment will be accepted through December 6th through this link: 

"The 395 page compilation of all things freight and passenger rail in Texas is a testament to the hard work done by the Rail Division at TxDOT. It's the most complete Texas Rail Plan produced to date and quite impressive," according to Texas Rail Advocates President Peter LeCody. "However all this good work will be for naught unless our state legislature makes rail a priority in moving people and goods with a dedicated source of funding. By begging for dribbles each session from both the state and federal government for both passenger and freight rail development we will continue to hobble along and 99% of state transportation funds will continue to build more highways. That does not bode well for a state with explosive growth continuing into the forseable future."

In the fall of 2019 TxDOT sought guidance, feedback and participation from stakeholders like Texas Rail Advocates, freight and passenger railroads, local and regional governmental agencies and the public in a series of meetings that culminated with the draft release today.

The Rail Plan covers goals for TxDOT's multimodal transportation system and the role of rail from freight railroads and passenger services on down to Short Line railroads and urban rail providers. It also covers state owned railroads, the current Texas Central high speed rail project between Dallas and Houston, a TxDOT rail vision and how the Texas Rail Plan is consistent with other states and with Mexico.

The Rail Plan points out the authority the agency has to conduct rail planning and the limited scope that the legisature has given TxDOT to substantially fund any needed projects.