Gov. Perry Announces Rail Relocation Effort Across State
Gov. Rick Perry today announced a historic agreement between the state of Texas and Union Pacific to work in partnership to move freight rail out of densely populated urban areas across the state.
"Relocating rail lines from crowded city centers will lead to safer crossings, less hazardous cargo carried through populated areas, greater efficiency in the movement of products from the warehouse to the market and the potential benefit of acquiring prime real estate for the development of new roads without tearing down homes and businesses in the process," Perry said.
Perry noted that this memorandum of understanding marks the first time any state has partnered with a private rail company to consolidate, improve and relocate existing freight rail lines away from population centers. Funding and specific projects have not yet been determined.
Perry noted that the rail relocation projects will provide a boost to the Texas economy as well, and will be an integral part in the overall improvement of the state's transportation system.
"Because trains will no longer have to slow down to pass through congested cities, shipments will reach their destination faster, saving Texas businesses valuable time and money that can be used to grow and create jobs," Perry said. "And with the land freed up in our city centers, we could even build new commuter rail lines or new roads that can further alleviate our urban traffic woes."
Perry said Texas is continuing to lead the nation when it comes to innovative transportation solutions. Last week, Texas signed a comprehensive development agreement with a private consortium to build segments of the Trans Texas Corridor stretching from Oklahoma to San Antonio without any up-front cost to taxpayers for construction.
"Texas is proving that public-private partnerships are the wave of the future, because they can provide innovative solutions to real transportation challenges at a price taxpayers can afford," Perry said.
Perry also noted that Texas has more rail crossings than any other state, and consequently consistently leads the nation in the number of vehicle-train accidents each year. Since 1984, more than 5,500 people have been killed or injured in vehicle-train collisions in Texas.