One thought on “Lone Star Rail Project in Limbo After Environmental Impact Study Halted

  1. It is apparent that Kevin Wolff wants to follow CAMPO’s lead and defund the EIS. However, when he dismisses the LSRD letter and characterizes their legal challenge as a “good way to lose friends and influence enemies” he is confirming the LSRD opinion that an effort is underway to artificially abort the Study. Once CAMPO committed the funds for the study its role became that of a bystander observing another entity’s project. There is a legal binding contract between LSRD, TxDOT and the FHWA. Based on that contract, LSRD hired professionals (subcontracts) to perform the Study and they were at 40% completion when LSRD halted work AT ITS DISCRETION out of deference to CAMPO. However, the MPOs are not signators to the contract. They don’t have standing to halt it and that is LSRD’s position. Moreover, LSRD’s guidance from the FHWA has been that it can proceed with the EIS even if CAMPO ultimately removes the project from its long-range plan. I would also note that Wolff’s argument leaves us to conclude passenger rail should never be built, certainly not in our lifetime. LSRD is well aware that it may not complete a commuter rail, but the Rail District argues that the study should be completed, not just because the contract and the National Environmental Policy Act require it, but because whichever entity picks up the project after LSRD folds (should that occur) will need the EIS to move forward. I would add one more element to this. Step back and look at what is happening around the state. Dallas-to-Fort Worth, there is rail service. Houston and Austin have rail service and all these cities are expanding rail service. El Paso has started construction on rail service. San Antonio is the only major city in the state that is doing nothing. I would invite anyone to site visit the urban corridors in Dallas that have developed with the benefit of urban rail. The ability to increase the mobility of people while simultaneously minimizing traffic congestion is creating amazing synergies: high density, luxury residences. The development around The Pearl and up Broadway is miniscule by comparison. If this community says “never” to passenger rail, it is saying “never” to all kinds of positive outcomes.

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