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Texas lawmakers urge state's House speaker to back rail-funding bill


Twenty-eight Texas House members recently signed letters that were sent to House Speaker Joe Straus urging him to support an amendment to the state's budget bill, which would provide $91 million per fiscal year for rail improvement projects throughout Texas.

House-Senate conferees soon will consider transportation funding in the bill, including a rail amendment, according to the Texas Rail Relocation and Improvement Association.

"Rail is a critical part of our transportation infrastructure and a priority in Texas," the lawmakers said in the letters.

The bill would tap into existing transportation-related fees to allocate about $91 million annually toward the Texas Rail Relocation and Improvement Fund, which would leverage bonding authority to help finance freight- and passenger-rail projects.

In 2005, Texas voters approved a constitutional amendment to create the fund. However, state legislators have not approved any appropriations to date.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 5/6/2009