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Federal Money for High Speed Rail

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By David Martin Davies, TPR

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/kera/local-kera-822347.mp3

Dallas, TX – Texas boosters of a cross-state high-speed rail project are looking at the Federal Stimulus package. There's money available that could put the Texas T-Bone on the right track. Texas Public Radio's David Martin Davies has the story.

The Texas T-Bone is a high speed rail plan that would stretch from San Antonio to Dallas parallel to I-35. But midway - in Temple - the rail would branch off to the east to College Station and over to Houston.

Fickes: We're talking 180 to 220 mph high speed rail.

Gary Fickes is a Tarrant County Commissioner and the secretary of the Texas High Speed Rail and Transportation Corporation.

Fickes: There's no engineering been done, There's no environmental been done. Nothing is shovel ready. We'd like to start doing our feasibility studies. Identify right of way. I think primarily that's what you're going to see the stimulus dollars on high speed rail go towards.

Texas agricultural interests are viewing the project with suspicion. They see it as gobbling up precious Texas Farmland.

Richard Cortese is a farmer and a Bell County commissioner.

Cortese: But everybody seems to think work don't matter if I take a road or buy 150-300 feet of right of way through here to put a road or railroad. Whatever. And they have little respect for our business not just the fact that it's our land, it's our business.

There's 8 billion dollars in the stimulus package for high speed rail and Texas is going to have to compete for a share of that money.

It's estimated the Texas T-Bone will cost about 16 billion dollars.

David Martin Davies Texas Public Radio News.

Link to The Texas High Speed Rail and Transportation Corporation Website