June 18, 2024 - TRA CALL TO ACTION -

Your help is needed NOW to make sure that Texas gets it's Fair-Share-For-Rail in the 2025 Texas legislative session in Austin. We need you to make a call, send an email, use social media.

The Texas Transportation Commission will hold their monthly meeting in Austin on Thursday, June 27. This is one of the most important meetings leading up to next year's biennial session of lawmakers. It will signal what the Texas Department of Transportation legislative appropriation request for 2025-2026 will look like when the draft presentation is previewed at the meeting.

Since 98% of state transportation funding is required by law to be used for highways, that only leave a sliver of funds for all other modes including maritime, aviation, public transportation and rail.

TxDOT does not have the means to fund significant rail projects unless the state legislature appropriates those monies. Until this changes TxDOT has to go to the legislature every two years with their hand out for a special request. 

We know that TxDOT and their bosses at the Texas Transportation Commission have the ability to add in what is called "Exceptional Items" that fall outside of their normal legislative appropriation request made to the Texas House and Senate. Unfortunately without a regular funding stream this is the route we have to take.

We are asking you to contact Executive Director Marc Williams at TxDOT and Transportation Commission Chair J. Bruce Bugg, Jr. and the other four commissioners to make sure there is a request for an Exceptional Item of $200 million for rail projects in the upcoming budget cycle from general funds. The proper terminology is simply an "LAR Exceptional Item request". There are pages of potential freight and passenger rail projects in the TxDOT State Rail Plan that can leverage up to 90% federal rail funding if we only had a state match to get projects started.

Texas lawmakers listen to what TxDOT and the Transportation Commissioners want to see accomplished in the future. We have to make sure that TxDOT and the commissioners hear what our needs are for conventional passenger rail and for freight rail projects and convey that to the state legislature. 

At a loss for words? Simply say Texas will continue to lose out on matching federal rail funds from the Infrastructure Law without funding from the legislature. It's time for a Fair-Share-For-Rail. Please include an Exceptional Item request for $200 million in the upcoming Legislative Appropriation Request. 

Please email / phone / reach by social media before June 27th the following decision markers:

Marc Williams, Executive Director, Texas Department of Transportation

  • Marc.Williams@txdot.gov; 512-305-9507; on X (twitter) @TxDOTCEO; Linkedin: marc-williams-tx/; Fax: 463-0283 

J. Bruce Bugg, Jr., Chairman, Texas Transportation Commission (San Antonio); Commissioner W. Alvin New (San Angelo); Commissioner Robert C. Vaughn (Dallas); Commissioner Alejandro “Alex” G. Meade III (Rio Grande Valley); Commissioner Steven D. Alvis (Houston).

  • Commission main line, 512-305-9509; Commission email: Amanda.martinez@txdot.gov
  • TxDOT Commission address: Dewitt C. Greer State Highway Building, 125 East 11th Street, Austin, TX 78701-2483

Until Texas lawmakers establish a revolving passenger and freight rail fund, similar to what Kansas recently did with passenger rail for the first time, we will continue to go to TxDOT, the Commission and the legislature with exceptional item requests every two years.

For more information on Fair-Share-For-Rail go to: https://texasrailadvocates.org/issues/fair-share-for-rail

Photo credit: TxDOT