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TxDOT to give a little more focus to rail

So says Transportation Commission Chair Deirdre Delisi.

“Really since the creation of the Texas Department of Transportation, roads were seen as the only solution and we’re learning very quickly that we can’t keep up with enough of the road demand,” Deirdre Delisi, Chair of the Texas Transportation Commission, said this week.

Under the Bush administration, to which Delisi is a one-time political consultant, rail was not considered as important to the state’s transportation needs as were highways. However, that has changed. The U.S. Department of Transportation under the Obama administration has begun to focus more on alternative transportation, including a push during the passage of the stimulus plan, on high-speed rail.

“We’re actually in the process of changing our strategic plan at TxDOT to include rail, both passenger and freight, to improve air quality and to improve congestion on the roads,” Delisi said.

Other densely-populated states, including Florida, have long since created plans for elaborate rail systems. Those received closer attention under the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act as they were considered “shovel-ready”. “We’re behind in Texas, relative to other states who have more of a robust rail infrastructure. But we’re aggressively pursuing it where it makes sense, where it’s feasible, where folks want it and where it makes good economic sense,” she said.

We are indeed way behind other states on this, and it’s lost us money and opportunity. It’s nice to hear the words – we’ve never heard these particular words before – but if they’re not matched by deeds, it won’t mean much. There’s an audio clip at the link if you want to hear more. Thanks to Houston Tomorrow for the link.

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