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San Antonio To Austin Commuter Rail Not Dead Yet

Lone Star Rail District

The plan to build a commuter rail between San Antonio and Austin is not dead, even though Union Pacific terminated its Memorandum of Understanding earlier this year.The Lone Star Rail District Board held a special meeting in San Marcos Friday to look at alternatives.

As options were being presented, Diane Rath with the Alamo Area Council of Governments, asked the board to consider the region as a whole.

“When we look at our population projections we look at San Antonio, the city growing a million, Austin a million and a half,” said Rath. “But if you look at the region, in 20 years we’re a region of seven million people. And seven million people imposed upon the same infrastructure is going to be untenable. So I ask people to please think about regional perspective, uniting both ends of Lone Star Rail.”

The board voted to continue and complete the ongoing environmental impact study to enable future funding for the project.

“The EIS has always had to consider all viable alternatives,” said Board Chair Sid Covington. “We had the most information on the UP corridor. That’s the one since the 1990s has had the best benefit to the whole region, so we focused on it first.”

Covington indicted that this is still a very viable project. It’s still very important to our communities up and down the corridor.

The Rail District estimates that the Lone Star Rail project is halfway through its project implementation process; the development of the EIS, which is part of that process, is on pace with other major transportation projects nationally and regionally. The District expects to complete the EIS process by 2018.

Steve joined the Texas Public Radio news team in 2009, and serves as TPR's Assistant News Director and afternoon anchor. You can hear him Monday-Friday from 3-7pm on KSTX 89.1 FM. Steve is a veteran of radio news in South Texas, having worked for commercial stations in the San Antonio area since the late 1980s.