April 6, 2023 - TRA Newswire -

The Texas Department of Transportation submitted three applications for advancing passenger rail corridors in the state to the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA).The announcement was made at the 19th Annual Southwestern Rail Conference this week at the Hurst Conference Center.

The FRA's Corridor Identification Program is the first step in a long process of establishing passenger train service and, if the FRA approves one or more of the applications, it will grant $500,000 in planning funds for each corridor. 

TxDOT Rail Division Director Jeff Davis announced that grant applications were filed for three passenger rail corridors: Houston to San Antonio, San Antonio to DFW and DFW to Houston, effectively the "Texas Triangle". This marks the first time that the transportation agency has committed to taking the first step toward becoming a multi-modal activist in the I-10, I-35 and I-45 busy travel corridors.

Pending FRA decisions and matching fund availability, service development planning and possible construction grants could be received by the Rail Division between 2023-2027. 

In addition to the three Corridor ID submissions, the Rail Division will also provide letters of support during the application process on two other passenger rail efforts underway by other states.  Those efforts could lead to additional service for Dallas, Fort Worth and East Texas and raise ridership and revenue on existing Amtrak Texas trains. One is a DFW to Meridian, Mississippi extension along the I-20 corridor of the Amtrak Crescent service that presently runs between New Orleans and New York. That proposal is supported by Amtrak, Louisiana and Mississippi. The other support letter is for an extension of the Heartland Flyer to Kansas. The states of Kansas and Oklahoma want to see the Heartland Flyer expanded from its current Fort Worth to Oklahoma City run to connect with Amtrak's national network at Newton, Kansas.

Photo credit: TxDOT