September 2, 2011

Texas awarded $50M for rail improvements, HSR corridor

The U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT) awarded nearly $50 million in rail investments to bolster both passenger and freight service through Texas, and jump-start planning for high-speed rail between Houston and Dallas-Fort Worth. 

A $34 million TIGER II grant will fund major rail improvements on the Tower 55 project in Fort Worth, Texas, and reduce traffic delays by 100,000 hours per year. The Tower 55 project will alleviate congestion at one of the busiest railroad intersections in the U.S., where ten freight and passenger rail routes converge and carry more than 100 trains per day.

The high volume of trains currently results in lengthy delays for area commuters and passengers, which will be greatly reduced thanks to these rail upgrades. 

The U.S. DOT also awarded a $15 million high-speed rail grant to Texas that will jump-start engineering and environmental work on a high-speed rail corridor linking two of the largest metro areas in the U.S.: Dallas-Fort Worth to Houston. The State of Texas is one of 32 states across the country currently laying the foundation for future high-speed rail service that will connect Americans more quickly, efficiently and safely than ever before. 

Additionally, the City of Fort Worth, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), BNSF Railway (BNSF) and Union Pacific Railroad (UP) are providing funding to help install new signaling, bridge upgrades, a third track line, and improved street and pedestrian crossings. Once complete, rail capacity will increase by more than 30 percent, making it more efficient for rail freight shippers and improve commuter rail reliability and performance.

“Tower 55 is a crossroads of the North American continent,” said Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison. “This project will allow the Tower to go from a legacy chokepoint to the model of a freight and passenger checkpoint, a facility featuring efficiency, safety, and convenience.”

The Tower 55 project will create approximately 900 jobs, and provide greater safety with reduced delays for motorists and pedestrians at area highway-rail crossings and bridges. With decreased train delays and blocked crossings, the project will achieve a projected 1.9 million ton reduction in carbon emissions from idling locomotives and automobiles.

Construction is expected to begin in early 2012. In addition to the $34 million TIGER II grant, the project will be funded with matching contributions, including  $1 million from TxDOT; $1 million from the City of Fort Worth; and $65 million from BNSF and UP.

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