It's been 8 years in the making. Thursday Amtrak and TxDOT announced they are one step closer to getting new Amtrak service along the I-20 corridor.
Thursday the east Texas corridor announced a feasibility study. The study is the first step in getting additional service on Amtrak in east Texas. It has been in the works since 2004. U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison sent a letter for the announcement, read by a member of her staff. "I look forward to better, smarter, faster passenger rail options in east Texas and across the United States. Sincerely Kay Bailey Hutchison, United States Senator.
The feasibility study will look at current schedules, costs and rider ship to determine if new stops from Bossier City to Fort Worth should be added. "Our children and grandchildren are going to appreciate that they're going to have the opportunity hopefully to take rail passenger from anywhere in east Texas to Love Field or DFW in Dallas or to Shreveport Regional," says Griff Hubbard, East Texas Regional Corridor Council.
The council says adding new Amtrak stops is crucial. "This is developing a transportation alternative. Our infrastructure on interstate 20 has not changed in 4 years. We still got the same two lanes going east and west and that traffic is projected to double, or by 72% by 2020," says Judge Richard Anderson with the East Texas Regional Corridor Council.
Other stops the study will look at include Mesquite, Forney, Terrell and Wills Point. "East Texas is kind of behind the rest of the nation in terms of integrating its rail and transits systems together but we're moving quickly into the 21st century," says Hubbard.
TxDOT will make its determination by weighing the cost of building new stations with the potential benefit in revenue. The study will be complete by the end of the year. TxDOT will then determine how much the new stops will cost and who will pay for them.