Did you know we have one?
Key fact: Shipping freight via rail produces one tenth the carbon monoxide as long haul trucking.
Kari Banta, Sierra Club’s new Transportation Associate in Texas attended Texas Department of Transportation’s public hearing on October 6 and this is what she wants you to know —
At the meeting, William Glavine, Director of the Texas Rail Division, presented a history of the Texas Rail Plan to the present. He emphasized how far Texas had come in unifying its vision and increasing its ability to compete for national funds for rail.
Most commenters noted the importance of improving existing rail infrastructure and stated that improving the existing system should take higher priority over high speed rail projects. High speed rail is achievable but will require a lot of time and money. The smaller cost and faster completion times of improving what we already have means real benefits in the short term for passenger and freight rail.
Passenger rail faces two obstacles: improving the schedule and travel times; and making better connections to other travel modes . The social and economic interconnectivity of many urban areas puts emphasis on establishing effective routes between San Antonio, Dallas and Houston (connecting Austin and other cities along the way).
There was a general acknowledgment of the importance of freight. It’s not as exciting for someone who wants real car alternatives now, but in terms of protecting the environment freight is a huge issue. Texas is first in the country in total rail miles and fifth in the country in total rail tons shipped. Shipping freight via rail produces one tenth the carbon monoxide as long haul trucking. As the Texas economy grows, it’s important to make freight rail a feasible option.