Happening Now

Texas Files Federal Corridor ID Submissions

April 7, 2023

by Jim Mathews / President & CEO

I spent most of this week in Fort Worth (NOT Dallas, as the folks there will always remind you) to attend – and present at – the Texas Rail Advocates’ 19th annual Southwestern Rail Conference, where I can happily report that the energy and excitement around the new possibilities for passenger rail were palpable.

In the final hours at the tail end of the Conference, Jeff Davis of the Texas Dept. of Transportation’s rail programs office reported that his state had made three formal submissions to the Federal Railroad Administration’s Corridor Identification Program, and pledged to supply DOT-signed letters of support for additional submissions.

As TRA’s Peter LeCody notes, “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.”

TxDOT’s Corridor ID submissions were for the legs of the so-called “Texas Triangle”: Houston to San Antonio, San Antonio to DFW, and DFW to Houston.

Moreover, Davis offered TxDOT’s official support for an Amtrak-led effort with FRA to extend a leg of Amtrak’s Crescent from Meridian, Miss., to Fort Worth, as well as an application from Kansas and Oklahoma for FRA support to extend Amtrak’s Heartland Flyer to Newton, Kansas.

One of the biggest things the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law has done is to coax reluctant states to the table who weren’t even considering passenger trains in the past. Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Ohio, Georgia, Arizona, and many others have all been drawn into the arena – the Corridor ID Program, the FRA Long-Distance Study, or both – with the promise of significant, multi-year funding.

It seems that committed funding with a long time horizon is the most powerful tool we’ve helped to create to get more trains to more places for more people!