December 8, 2023 - TRA Newswire -

As reported by today, the County Judges of two of the largest Texas metro areas, Austin and San Antonio, were miffed why the I-35 Lone Star Rail Corridor wasn't included on today's list of some 69 projects around the country that received Federal Railroad Administration planning grants.

The announcement of other Texas rail corridors like Dallas-Houston and Houston-San Antonio receiving grants didn’t sit well with Bexar County Judge Peter Sakai or Travis County Judge Andy Brown who issued a joint statement Friday questioning the lack of federal support.

According to the statement read “The FRA’s failure to include the Travis-Bexar County corridor is a significant missed opportunity to support responsible growth and investment across Central Texas,” Brown said in the statement. “We live in one of the most dynamic and booming regions in the world without passenger rail. We will work closely with the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization to make this a priority for the next round of investments.”

This isn’t the first federal action to snub the greater San Antonio-Austin metro area either, as the joint statement sent out by Sakai’s office says the FRA designated five corridors as priorities for railway expansion in Texas, and the I-35 corridor wasn’t mentioned. According to the press release, the Travis-Bexar County “super-region” houses upwards of 5 million people which officials project will jump to 8 million in the next 30 years.

“The FRA excluding our super-region is a setback, and we are determined to make this a priority and work as a mega-corridor with our Metropolitan Planning Organizations and stakeholders to make sure we don’t miss the next round of funding,” Sakai said. “We must do more to meet the demands of our time and address the key challenges we face as on of the fastest growing communities in the nation and improve transit with passenger rail in Central Texas.”

The I-35 Lone Star Rail Corridor was the only one of three corridors that did not receive a planning grant when the Texas Department of Transportation petitioned for consideration in a letter to the Federal Railroad Administration earlier this year.