State Proposition 1 To Open Up Passenger Rail Development In Texas

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Texas voters approved the Rail Relocation and Improvement Fund at the polls Tuesday, taking an historic step toward future development of faster and more dependable passenger rail service in the state.

Texas voters approved the Rail Relocation and Improvement Fund at the polls Tuesday, taking an historic step toward future development of faster and more dependable passenger rail service in the state.

“By the passage of State Proposition 1 we now have the means to help the freight railroads relocate and improve their original lines throughout the state and that makes it possible to plan for faster freight and passenger trains,” according to Paul Mangelsdorf, Executive Director of Texas Rail Advocates, a Dallas-based pro-rail organization.

Texas Rail Advocates urges TxDOT to lay out a priority list of the most important rail relocation and improvement projects in the state and to engage the three largest freight rail carriers, Union Pacific Railroad, BNSF Railway and Kansas City Southern Railroad in serious talks on the issues. “Texas is mostly a one-track rail system with some passing sidings” according to the advocate organization’s Executive Director. “We must prepare for rail gridlock in the next decade if the lines are not upgraded."

TRA believes that one of the key plans should include an engineering and feasibility study of the South Central High Speed Rail Corridor that the U.S. Department of Transportation authorized five years ago. This tri-state rail corridor, using enhanced infrastructure improvements including grade crossings and signaling, would be capable of handling containerized and trailer freight trains up to 90 miles per hour and fast, frequent passenger service up to 110 miles per hour between major Texas cities. It would give travelers an attractive, dependable option to expensive automobile travel.

Mangelsdorf notes that passage of the Rail Relocation and Improvement Fund means that many rail grade crossings can be eliminated or improved in the future and that will mean fewer vehicle-train accidents. “Importantly, in addition to safety, taking some of the heavy truck traffic off our beaten-down over burdened highways will also help improve air quality,” according to Mangelsdorf. “Texas Rail Advocates believes that our economic engine in Texas will be riding on the rails as new industries find the state to be more inviting because of a dynamic transportation system.”

For additional information contact Paul Mangelsdorf, Executive Director, Texas Rail Advocates, at 214-749-3549.

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Paul Mangelsdorf