AUSTIN (KXAN) — Nonprofit Texas Rail Advocates President Peter LeCody will meet with the Texas Transportation Commission Tuesday. He’s urging the commission to call on state lawmakers this upcoming session and apply for funding.
The state is expected to have an extra $27 billion in revenue. LeCody is hoping just $200 million of that can go to rail projects and improvements.
“It could go to a number of projects,” LeCody said. “No. 1, rail crossings — it could make rail crossing safer with additional safety devices or maybe building overpasses or underpasses over the rail lines, you could create a passenger rail corridor, say serving the Round Rock, Austin, San Antonio region, and offers some fast and frequent travel options to Interstate 35.”
Austin nonprofit leader Jay Blazek Crossley has been working for years to improve the quality of urban and rural life. He said that work includes taking a closer look at how to improve transportation, and rail would be another option.
“Texas provides very little transit time, but the transit we do provide really helps certain people, lower-income people can make it, and they can access jobs and schools and things because of transit,” said Jay Blazek Crossley, the executive director at Farm&City. “And so it’s not the only reason to invest in transit, but it’s important.”
LeCody said if the Texas Department of Transportation applies for a legislative request and if the legislature approves, this could open the door to federal funds — grants that would help get railroad projects on track.
“We need finally to put some money where our mouth is and and go ahead and get those competitive funds from the federal government,” he said. “They’re out there, it’s $36 billion. If we don’t do it, some other states kind of get it.”