April 19, 2024 - TRA Newswire -

The administrator of one of the largest counties in the country, Travis County Judge Andy Brown, called for efficient, quick and safe passenger rail service between Austin and San Antonio and further up and down the I-35 travel corridor.

"I'm building a statewide coalition of support from our federal and state representatives to county judges, mayors and council members to see how we can get this done as quickly as possible," according to Judge Brown. "I'm excited to partner with my good friend and colleague Bexar County Judge Peter Sakai. We've been to Spurs games in San Antonio and Austin and we're excited for the chance to get to a Spurs game by taking a train rather than I-35."

Travis County Judge Andy Brown's presentation in full: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tEDeIBCdDYI

Judge Brown said "we are trying to work across party lines. There are Republicans and Democrats in Texas that are in favor of passenger rail expansion. It's an economic development issue, it's a safety issue, an environmental issue and it really would improve our state and in particular the Austin-San Antonio corridor." 

judge rode the new Brightline train service in Florida recently and suggested it might be a possible option. Another would be expanding Amtrak existing service, possibly the fastest way. Judge Brown said he is open to all ideas and has discussed with Union Pacific how they have handled passenger rail service in other corridors

His aim is to develop concrete steps to make regional passenger rail service happen more quickly, and some steps might includ double-tracking of the existing single track line to add capacity, some local funding or working with state legislators to establish a fund to take advantage of federal-state matching funds. 

"I think there are real ways to do this and I'm ready to go ahead and get it done, " said Judge Brown.

Photo credit: Texas Rail Advocates