With vote, process of removing Lone Star Rail project begins

AUSTIN (KXAN) -- The plan to build a commuter rail line between Georgetown and San Antonio could come to an end this fall.

The Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization or CAMPO met to talk about ending an environmental study for the $2 billion Lone Star Rail Project. The organization voted Monday night to amend their 2040 plan by beginning the process of removing the Lone Star Rail project from the plan.

In the works for more than 10 years, nearly $30 million has gone into the planning. The goal with the Lone Star Rail was to utilize the current Union Pacific rail line and have a commuter train run on it in an effort to reduce traffic on roads like MoPac. While the train was slated to run on 117 miles of track between Georgetown and San Antonio there were multiple proposed stops throughout north and central Austin.

But signs of trouble with this project came up in February when Union Pacific pulled out of the deal. The company had concerns it would be unable to share the train tracks because it could hurt their business.

CAMPO's board chair was expected to make a motion to pull out of an environmental study that was the final step needed before construction could begin which was slated for the year 2018. By pulling out of the study that essentially kills the deal.

So what's next? Board members on CAMPO have stated they want to partner with TXDOT to find an alternative, which has yet to be announced.

A public comment period will be open from Aug. 29 to Sept. 26. A public hearing will be held on Sept. 12. Final action on the plan will be taken on Oct. 12.

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