TRA Newswire - Texas has passed up its share of some $19 billion in federal rail funds over the past 10 years because the state does not have a matching partnership component. Those funds have gone to dozens of other states for critical freight and passenger rail projects that could benefit Texas.
Texas Rail Advocates is continuing a campaign aimed at state legislators and the public to make everyone aware we need a KICKSTART APPROPRIATION so the state can participate in these federal rail programs, just as we do for highway projects.
The campaign is called Fair-Share-For-Rail and will be directed towards state legislators and other interested parties to get their attention.
Some of the rail funding opportunities, administered by the Federal Railroad Administration, required less than 50% of the funding to come from state coffers, and some only required a token amount. Other states received massive amounts of federal funding for rail expansion programs, improved bridges and infrastructure, prevented highway-rail crossing accidents, improved passenger rail service, assistance for short line railroads that move many commodities the first and last mile and other rail related projects. In one the recent federal rail funding opportunities Texas left behind a share of $291 million dollars that will go to other states. The deadline was July 27, 2020.
A KICKSTART APPROPRIATION to show how Texas could greatly benefit from working with federally funded rail programs could be administered through an existing mechanism that voters approved in 2009 but has been in limbo ever since.
Transit times could be reduced by untangling rail choke points Shippers could get their materials in and product out faster to customers More freight by rail means it gives our highways some breathing room from congestion Highway grade crossings could be safer Rail bypasses around cities could be created Regional passenger rail services such as in the crowded Austin-San Antonio corridor could be created Local and regional governments could foster economic growth by championing rail-served industries
The mechanism to make this happen is already in place.
In 2009 Texans approved a Constitutional Amendment creating the Rail Relocation and Improvement Fund (RRIF). It would direct the Texas Department of Transportation and the Rail Division to be involved in the planning, programming and construction of freight and passenger rail projects to move goods and people in our state. Funds placed in the RRIF would be programmed by the Rail Division at the Texas Department of Transportation for important rail projects to benefit our state.
There a DOZENS of rail projects in the TxDOT Texas Rail Plan that could improve moving people and goods if we had a state KICKSTART APPROPRIATION to match federal funds through the RRIF. We need is a KICKSTART APPROPRIATION FROM OUR STATE LAWMAKERS. If we don't match, we lose. Please make your voice heard: contact your Texas State Senator and State Representative: https://wrm.capitol.texas.gov/home
Tell them to Google FAIR SHARE FOR RAIL for details. Here's how you can help.......
Register for our email newsletter and periodic updates Help offset costs of our campaign with a donation as little as $5.00 (Texas Rail Advocates is a 501C3 non-profit) Volunteer to help in your city, county or region Companies, organizations and entities interested in participating in Fair-Share-For-Rail please contact firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @railadvo
Here's just one recent example of a federal funding opportunity that Texas missed: Deadline was July 27,2020. Total federal rail funds that would have been available: $291,422,706.