With No Concrete Plan For Tracks, Rail Project Delayed

Uncertainty about funding new tracks has created a delay in the development of a commuter rail system in the Austin-San Antonio region.

"Instead of starting in 2009 or 2010, the goal as of 2005, the Austin-San Antonio Intermunicipal Commuter Rail District now believes it can begin at least limited service in the 2011-12 time frame."

"Progress is painfully slow for the 19-member district board, which met last week in San Antonio. It was the first meeting since May because there wasn't much to act on during the summer."

"Everything still depends on Union Pacific Corp., which owns nearly all the tracks and the right-of-way along the 110-mile route that the commuter rail board wants to serve. It stretches from just south of Georgetown to San Antonio's South Side."

"The commuter rail, however, cannot carry passengers on the tracks used by UP's freight trains. The Texas Department of Transportation has not produced a plan, as hoped two years ago, for new tracks for UP east of the Interstate 35 corridor. The costs would have been shared by the state and the railroad. That would have freed up the existing tracks for the passenger service."

Full Story: David Hendricks: Rail plan chugs along — slowly

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