HIGH-SPEED RAIL: Texas revisits high-speed rail with feasibility study

Two-year effort will explore options for relieving I-35 congestion

October 18, 2012

The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) has initiated a new two-year $14 million study to assess the feasibility of high-speed rail—among other rail options—along I-35 from Oklahoma City to the Rio Grande. The end goal is to reduce congestion along the state’s busiest north-south highway.

 Funding will be split between $1.4 million in TxDOT money and almost $9 million in federal grants. Colorado-based CH2M Hill will receive $7 million to coordinate the study, which will also consider increasing the speed of existing Amtrak trains. Concurrently, HNTB will assess potential ridership.

The same stretch was previously considered for high-speed rail as part of Gov. Rick Perry’s proposed Trans-Texas Corridor. Opposition from rural land owners ultimately drove state legislators to strike down the plan.

TxDOT will collaborate on the study with the Oklahoma Department of Transportation, which will assess the portion of the route between the Red River and Oklahoma City.