The Lone Star Rail District kicked off a series of community informational sessions in San Antonio on Tuesday. Lone Star Rail Board Members and volunteers where on hand to answer questions along with information on the project displayed around the Carver Civic Center. The casual information session allowed citizens to peruse content and ask questions individually as opposed to an auditorium setting with a formal presentation.
The Lone Star Rail is one solution to an ever-growing regional transportation issue. Austin and San Antonio are two of the fastest growing cities in the country, with many municipalities in between experiencing significant growth as well. Travel delays on I-35 averaged 35 minutes in 2004, 75 minutes in 2010, and are projected to be 3 hours by 2030. Lone Star Rail will be a part of the solution to mitigating increased congestion on I-35.
Proposed stations are in downtown San Antonio at VIA’s West Side Multi-Modal Center, currently under construction, the San Antonio Airport, Texas A&M San Antonio, Port San Antonio, 1604/ 35 area. Additional stops include Schertz, New Braunfels, Texas State University, downtown Austin, Round Rock, and Georgetown. Early plans call for over 30 trains a day, 7 days a week, with express service between downtown San Antonio and Austin in a little over an hour.
Next steps forward:
The Lone Star Rail, a project that has been in the works for over 15 years, has now begun a three-year Environmental Impact Study (EIS). The Lone Star Rail has proposed to use an existing Union Pacific (UP) freight rail line that currently runs from Georgetown to San Antonio. In order for UP to dedicate this rail line, a new rail line for the displaced freight traffic will need to be built. The study is two fold. One, it will review the existing UP line that the passenger rail would potentially use. Secondly, it will also study proposed routes to construct a new rail line for the displaced freight from the existing UP line. The new freight line will connect Tyler to Seguin, potentially using some existing rail lines.
Lone Star Rail is hosting a series of additional Public Open Houses in the communities the rail is proposed in. Be sure to check out our sister site, BuildingATX, for the recap of the Austin Open House.