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12/17/2008



Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

Texas commission: DOT needs a rail division


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Yesterday, the Texas Sunset Advisory Commission — which is charged by the state to review government policies and programs — recommended that the Texas Department of Transportation establish a new division to oversee rail funding and projects.

"A rail division within TxDOT would be responsible for assuring that passenger and freight rail become an integral part of the transportation system for Texas," said Bruce Todd, executive director for the Texas Rail Relocation and Improvement Association, in a prepared statement.

During the 2009 state legislative session, which begins in January, the association plans to recommend various options to fund freight-rail relocations and improvements that would improve safety, ease traffic congestion at hundreds of grade crossings, increase freight-rail capacity and free up existing freight lines for passenger-rail service.  

In 2005, Texas voters passed a constitutional amendment establishing the Rail Relocation and Improvement Fund. However, state lawmakers have not yet dedicated money for the fund, the association said.


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