April 19, 2024 - TRA Newswire -

Federal Railroad Administrator Amit Bose, speaking at the 20th Annual Southwestern Rail Conference in Hurst, Texas this week, said that a lot of work has already been accomplished by the agency on establishing high-speed rail from Dallas to Houston and commended Amtrak for working with Texas Central Partners to continue to advance the project.

"We can not overlook how big a state Texas is and how much growth is happening here, especially in the Dallas and Houston metropolitan areas," according to Bose. "We always look for opportunities to give people who travel between these two metropolitan areas not to just rely on I-45 and not to just sit in traffic so we want to explore options to give people in Texas options like passenger rail."

Bose discussed a variety of rail subjects including projects in Houston to alleviate blocked rail crossings, Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvement (CRISI) grants,  federal-state partnerships and the Corridor Identification program that will be the first building block step in advancing passenger rail in Texas corridors. 

The FRA chief said the Corridor ID planning grants could benefit rail passengers in Texas. They include TxDOT grants for Houston to San Antonio, Dallas to Houston; an Amtrak grant for high-speed rail Dallas to Houston; Amtrak and the Southern Rail Commission from Dallas-Fort Worth to Atlanta and expansion of the daily Heartland Flyer from Fort Worth to Kansas.                     

The entire presentation of Administrator Bose: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BHEGeeIaPOs

Bose also highlighted the railroad crossing elimination grant program that has approved funding for some cities in Texas. He mentioned a new overpass for $8.4 million in federal funds for Amarillo, $4.8 million to San Antonio for a grade separated overpass, U.S. 90 railroad crossing improvements in the Houston region and also in Fort Worth. 

"Communities in Laredo have had to experience blocked grade crossings for decades. We're finally making change on them," according to the rail chief as he pointed to other Texas rail projects that will benefit freight movement.  "The Rio Valley Switching Company aims to upgrade track infrastructure along a fifty mile corridor. The Texas Northwestern Railway (TNW) has over $7 million to modernize its railroad infrastructure." 

Photo credit: Texas Rail Advocates