August 24, 2016 -

Public comment is wrapping up in a state-sponsored study of a high-speed rail alternative to Interstate 35, and local leaders are going on record in favor of a downtown Waco stop.

The study looks at the feasibility and environmental impact of a new train system with speeds up to 220 mph, in an 850-mile corridor between Laredo and Oklahoma City. Preliminary work has shown that the stretch between San Antonio and Dallas-Fort Worth could operate in the black.

The exact route and projected construction costs are not part of this phase of work. But if the Federal Railroad Administration’s review of the feasibility study is favorable, state officials could go on to a design phase that would answer those questions, with an eye toward federal funding.

In a letter addressed to state officials this week, the Waco Metropolitan Planning Organization board endorsed the high-speed rail proposal and urged officials to consider the Waco Intermodal Center at Eighth Street and Mary Avenue as a stop.

MPO director Chris Evilia said the study’s preferred scenarios show a Waco stop.

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