April 18, 2022 - TRA Newswire - 

Jeff Davis, still fairly new in his position as the head of TxDOT's Rail Division, has set priorities he wants to see accomplished.

Davis' remarks from the Southwestern Rail Conference can be found on the video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7oG18q9_3eY

With the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill now law, it means that there are new and expanded programs Davis would like a chunk for Texas, the state with the most rail miles and 10,000 crossings. 

"We really want to focus where the problem areas are and produce valuable documents that can be used by the railroads or planning districts to improve the rail network within the state," according to Davis. 

The rail head said that his division is working on a list of highway-rail grade separation projects and would like to see Texas get some of the $100 million to be distributed at the federal level over the next 5 years. Davis indicated the rail division is working to integrate grade crossing signals with highway traffic signals to smooth out traffic flow.   

Untangle Houston: "We want to be part of the solution to fix that", a Davis referred to rail and highway crossing congestion. "Be it grade separation, operating plans what ever it may be. We can fund some of the studies to determine a better way to operate. The East end of Houston is where most of the public concerns are."

"Obviously there's lots of talk about passenger rail options and where appropriate TxDOT will engage in a study," Davis said. "I have met with the President and CEO of Amtrak and have committed where appropriate we will do joint studies with them especially on the existing operations within Texas where we can improve or enhance current operations." 

Davis also indicated in his remarks that he has asked for a priority shift in other areas, including paying more attention to Short Line railroads and their needs, working in concert with the TxDOT maritime division on rail traffic at ports and seeing what economic development tools are available so railroads can work with towns and cities to keep the Texas economy growing. 

Davis' rail division staff includes 17 rail investigators whose work puts them in the field with the same powers as those with the Federal Railroad Administration to inspect railroads for safety compliance.