Texas was nudged a bit closer to eventual high-speed rail service Thursday after the federal government announced that it would make available $5.6 million to plan a high-speed line between Oklahoma City and South Texas. The rail line – which, if built as envisioned, would feature trains traveling 90-110 mph – would run roughly parallel to Interstate 35, on corridors currently used by Amtrak’s Heartland Flyer and Texas Eagle. Both Amtrak routes serve Fort Worth daily.
In all, 54 projects were picked nationwide to receive $2.5 billion in high-speed rail funding, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood’s office announced. In Texas, the money was awarded to state transportation department’s fledgling rail division, which was formed last year as state officials scrambled to get their high-speed rail planning efforts on par with other states.
“It’s one of several projects TxDot put in for. It’s a good start,” said Peter LeCody, president of Texas Rail Advocates. The planning process likely will take about three years, LeCody predicted. After that, money to build the line would need to be secured.
-- Gordon Dickson