March 10, 2024 - TRA Newswire -

What is the impact of the far-reaching Infrastructure Law that Congress passed in 2021 and how does Texas figure into the billions of dollars that are in play for passenger and freight rail projects.

Those questions and more will be asked of presenters as this year's lineup for the 20th Annual Southwestern Rail Conference will cover a wide swath of important passenger and freight rail issues that affect Texas and the Southwest.

The conference will be held at the Hurst Conference Center, in the heart of the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex on April 15 and 16. 

Early Bird registration, which entitles attendees to a $100 discount, will expire at the end of the month. Information on the conference can be found at

Keynote speaker Federal Railroad Administrator Amit Bose will describe the wide range of funding programs that his agency has been tasked to distribute for safety, rail upgrades and to establish a robust corridor and national passenger rail network. 

Keynote speaker Tony Hatch, noted freight rail analyst, will look at the state of the industry both in good and not-so-good contexts and offer his opinion where the rail industry is headed. 

The Executive Vice-President for High Speed Rail at AMTRAK, Andy Byford, will discuss how the passenger railroad plans to move the delayed Dallas to Houston high-speed rail project forward. 

TxDOT Rail Division Director Jeff Davis has been tasked with working on Corridor Identification funding for conventional passenger rail from federal grant wins while looking at future freight rail projects throughout the state.

A panel of transportation journalists and writers will discuss wildcard topics ranging from road and rail congestion and safety to high-speed trains in Texas and economic development that results from rail funding.

Austin Mayor Kirk Watson and Travis County Judge Andy Brown will lay out what they want for passenger rail service in Central Texas and beyond while Southern Rail Commission Chair Knox Ross will describe how the three-state agency is planning a Dallas-Fort Worth to Atlanta passenger rail link.

A full list of panels and presenters can be found on the conference website. The rail conference is hosted by Texas Rail Advocates, a 501(c)3 grass-roots non-profit that supports the smart development of freight and passenger rail projects in Texas and the Southwest.