Amtrak President /CEO Stephen Gardner and Chief Financial Officer Tracie Winbigler met recently with U.S. Rep Henry Cuellar (D-Laredo) to discuss passenger service between San Antonio and Monterrey, Mexico. According to San Antonio radio station KSTA, the proposal would require participation from the state of Texas as well as a study on financing and construction of the service.
Service to Laredo with a cross-border connection was last operated between 1973 to 1981 with an Amtrak train called the Inter American. The Mexican government is currently studying the Nuevo Laredo to Monterrey route and TxDOT had completed a favorable service level study several years ago for the San Antonio-Laredo segment in the Texas-Oklahoma Passenger Rail Study. Mexican rail officials outlined their plans for international service in a presentation to the Texas Rail Advocates Board of Directors last August.
Representative Cuellar told KSTA that “we’re hoping the state of Texas would look at this as a public-private partnership and the billions of dollars the federal government could use [for the construction]. You’re talking about up to $12 billion that could be used for this new corridor.” Cuellar was referring to rail funds available under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law that was passed late last year.
During the Inter American era, the train had poor connections at Laredo as passengers had to make their way across the border to the Mexican railway station. Southbound arriving and departing services missed each other by several hours, necessitating a full day's stay in Laredo.