Texas DOT awarded $5.6 million grant

The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) has been awarded a $5.6 million competitive grant by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administration (FRA).

U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) is calling it “an important first step in developing high-speed rail infrastructure in Texas” to give passengers more travel options and help ease chronic congestion.

The grant funding will be used to complete feasibility studies and preliminary service planning for a designated 850-mile high-speed rail corridor, which runs along I-35 between South Texas and Oklahoma City. The grant funding will be shared with the State of Oklahoma, and Texas will be the lead partner in the project.

“This award supporting planning and feasibility studies is an important first step in developing high-speed rail infrastructure in Texas,” said Sen. Hutchison in a prepared statement. “The availability of intercity passenger rail service will give Texans more travel options and help ease our state’s chronic traffic congestion.

“I applaud the Federal Railroad Administration for recognizing the importance and potential of high speed rail in Texas,” she continued, “and I hope we can forge a strong public-private partnership to bring this project to fruition.”

Sen. Hutchison, the senior Republican on the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, has long pressed the U.S. Department of Transportation to extend high-speed passenger rail service beyond the Northeast corridor.

At a Sept. 15, 2010, Commerce Committee hearing on the federal role in national rail policy, she questioned Deputy Transportation Secretary John D. Porcari on what states like Texas need to be doing to invest in rail projects and corridors that could become part of a national network.

Click here for the full text of Sen. Hutchison’s statement made at the hearing.