Updated January 17, 2021 - TRA Newswire -

The 17th Annual Southwestern Rail Conference will go virtual Thursday, January 28th with an all-day lineup of rail leaders from the industry and from political circles discussing important transportation topics. http://texasrailadvocates.org/2021-southwestern-rail-conference/

The conference is limited to the first 500 attendees and will cover both freight and passenger rail issues that affect Texas and the Southwest.

A panel composed of rail executives from the Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana Departments of Transportation will discuss why states need a Rail Plan and why it's important for far more than just to obtain federal funding for future projects. The Texas Department of Transportation recently completed a major update to its State Rail Plan, which can affect how federal funds reach important rail projects and what the needs of a state are to move people and goods.

Joining from Austin during the ongoing Texas legislative session will be Texas House Transportation Chair Terry Canales.  He recently issued an Interim Charge Report on Transportation to the Speaker of the House. Texas Rail Advocates' Political Consultant Mackenna Head Wehmeyer looks at the current legislative session and what is could mean for rail legislation. Austin State Representative Celia Israel talks transportation during a noontime segment.

Freight rail presentations are scheduled from Union Pacific Railroad; Veteran Rail Analyst Anthony Hatch; BNSF Railway on Innovation, Investment and Modal Equity; FreightWaves columnist Jim Blaze and GrupoMexico's South Orient Railroad operator TexasPacifico.

Passenger rail will feature DC-based Rail Passengers Association President Jim Mathews discussing what a new Administration can mean for trains; Executive Paul Ballard and Trinity Metro head Bob Baulsir on Urban and Regional Rail along with former Interim CEO of Denver RTD Paul Ballard and North Central Texas Council of Governments Transportation Director Michael Morris , very active on many fronts.

Attendees who sign up but can not view some or all of the events on conference day will receive unique log-in information to watch presentations at their leisure. Presentations for attendees expect to be posted a few days following the conference.