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Galveston takes a step forward on commuter rail

The Galveston City Council has approved a study of a possible commuter rail line from Galveston to Houston.

The Federal Transportation Administration will use the analysis to decide whether engineering can begin and Congress will use it to decide whether to fund the project and if so, how much of it, said Barry Goodman, whose Goodman Corp. was hired by the city to shepherd the project.

If all goes well, engineering could begin this summer and the first train could roll in 2012, Goodman said.

A 14-month study completed by Goodman Corp. last year said the rail line is economical, will reduce air pollution, ease traffic congestion and provide a hurricane evacuation method.

The commuter rail will cost between $380 million and $415 million, reviving passenger service on the 140-year-old Galveston-Houston and Henderson rail corridor that parallels Interstate 45.

The line would carry about 11,480 passengers per day when fully completed and would eventually run from Houston Metro’s proposed light rail station at Harrisburg to the Galveston Railroad Museum with connections to the Port of Galveston and the University of Texas Medical Branch.

This was a part of the regional commuter rail proposal that came out over the summer, for which Tory and Christof had some additional suggestions. In addition to the other positive aspects of this plan, it would be a nice little bit of economic stimulus as well. I look forward to seeing the results of the study.

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  1. Dennis says:

    I started out in my career as a transportation planner, years ago. And as much as I admire people who run for elective office and the dedication they often bring, I am just appalled that commuter rail has not been a higher priority for any of these leaders. Existing rail tracks are found along most of our major corridors. There is simply no excuse for not having had commuter rail up and running, particularly along I-45, years ago. No excuse – except small minded, short-sighted, “cut taxes” leaders.

  2. Jeb says:

    There are plenty of good reasons for a Houston-Galveston commuter rail: daily commute, beach traffic, evacuation route.