April 15, 2019 - TRA Newswire -
TRA and its allies apply pressure in Austin to secure a future for high-speed rail in Texas
As opponents of high-speed rail resort to underhanded legislative maneuvers to preserve the status quo, Texas Rail Advocates is working to rally support to ensure that Texas’ transportation future is not held captive by special interests. The group is currently rallying support and calling on all concerned Texans to contact their representatives in Austin to make their voices heard. TRA's voice for high speed rail is being amplified by Rail Passengers Association, the D.C. based association with 23,000 members nationwide.
TRA stands in opposition to the latest budget passed by the Texas Senate because it contains a rider placed by Senator Brian Birdwell of Granbury. Rather than file his own bill on the subject, Birdwell has inserted language into the all-important budget in a bid to circumvent debate and press scrutiny. The language in the budget rider would damage progress being made by a private enterprise to bring high-speed rail to Texas.
Fortunately, proponents of forward-thinking transportation infrastructure still have a chance to defeat the rider as the budget bill will now head to a conference committee with House members where Birdwell’s language may be stripped out. TRA calls on all Texans concerned about the future of their state to reach out to the following Representatives and tell them that they must REMOVE THE RIDER: Chairman John Zerwas (R-Katy), Greg Bonnen (R-Galveston), Sarah Davis (R-Houston), Oscar Longoria (D-Mission) and Armando Walle (D-Houston). Senate conferees will be announced soon and TRA will communicate that information as it becomes available.
Social media users are asked to use the hashtag #RemoveTheRider.
Another area of concern is a new subcommittee in the House Transportation Committee chaired by Representative John Raney which will hear the almost two dozen anti-high-speed rail bills that have been filed this session. The subcommittee will convene on Tuesday morning April 16, starting at 8am in the State Capitol in Austin to hear the bills and TRA encourages any Texan that can make the trip to Austin to attend these hearings. It will be possible for attendees to testify in support of high speed rail for up to two minutes. For those not in the for public speaking, the Texas Capitol allows those in attendance to electronically register their opinions on legislation. Civic participation is important, and every little bit helps. More information on these bad high-speed rail bills is available on the Texas Rail Advocates website
“With our unique knack for problem-solving and forward-thinking transportation solutions, Texas is the ideal proving ground for high-speed rail,” said Texas Rail Advocates President Peter LeCody. “In fact, high-speed rail is such a good fit for Texas that the only thing that can get in the way is burdensome regulations designed to protect the status quo. So it should come as no surprise this is what opponents have resorted to. If high-speed rail receives the same hands off approach that has allowed other industries to succeed here in Texas, it will revolutionize transportation and make Texas a model for the nation. All Texans should voice their support for private industry and welcome the enhanced consumer choice offered by high-speed rail.”