(San Antonio) - Over 85 interested citizens, students and members of the National Association of Railroad Passengers in Texas gathered on the UT-SA Campus Thursday evening and heard about an important high speed rail project to connect Lone Star State cities and how they can ratchet up the conversation for more train service.
Dr. David Hagy of Texas Central Railway presented information on the private company's plans to run bullet trains in Texas, connecting the two largest metropolitan markets with 90 minute service from Dallas to Houston at speeds up to 200 miles an hour. Hagy explained how the Texas economy would benefit from high speed trains, creating 10,000 construction jobs and 1,000 permanent positions once the line is operating.
Bruce Ashton, a San Antonio resident and Division Leader for the National Association of Railroad Passengers, discussed key issues with the lack of passenger rail service in Texas. "We handed out fact sheets covering what we, as NARP members, see as important issues with passenger train service here in Bexar county and throughout the state." NARP Vision Maps showing how Texas and other states could be connected by fast, frequent trains were available to the public. A video from NARP spokesperson Dan Ackroyd was shown that discussed the need for a Connected America by train and other modes.
Ashton said that "our thought for our next meeting will be with Amtrak where we want to hear about their study for more train service from San Antonio to Austin. We plan to bring together city and county leaders that would benefit from having this service. There is also a request for having Texas Central at a similar meeting in Austin and we will be pursuing how to put this together," according to Ashton. "We need more citizens involved in the process and by joining the National Association of Railroad Passengers it increases our voice to make passenger rail an important component in the transportation network."