September 22, 2022 - TRA Newswire -
Texas cities and county Commissioner Courts are signing resolutions and letters of support for rail funding in the upcoming legislative session.
Spurred on by Texas Rail Advocates' Fair-Share-For-Rail Campaign which points out that freight and passenger rail projects have been sidetracked for years, rural and urban government entities want Texas officials to take advantage of federal competitive rail grant programs with a state buy-in.
"We are getting a strong response from counties, cities, chambers of commerce and economic development agencies asking for rail funding projects," according to Texas Rail Advocates President Peter LeCody. "TxDOT, the Transportation Commission and our state legislators are going to have to explain to these folks back home why they aren't being proactive in applying for billions in federal rail grants that are available. Over the last decade Texas lost out on its share of $19 billion in federal funds because we didn't have a 20 to 30 percent match for projects. That money went to other states."
New and expanded federal rail programs can allow for improvements to move both people and goods, eliminate dangerous at-grade rail crossings, construct overpasses and underpasses, track rehabilitation, eliminate rail bottlenecks, repair and replace aging bridges and structures, help economic development in rural towns and cities that want to ship by rail. Also on the table are state-federal passenger rail partnerships to restore and expand train service.
Resolutions of support for state funding to match competitive federal rail grants programs have already been issued by:
Many more resolutions and letters of support are expected and interested entities can obtain a packet to join by emailing email@example.com.
TRA will present a package of resolutions to elected and appointed state officials in Austin before the start of the 2023 session in January.