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Texans Fight for High Speed Rail Dollars

By Sara Sciammacco, CNC News

Austin, TX – Texas lawmakers are fighting to get money from the stimulus package for a high speed train across Texas. Sara Sciammacco has more.

The federal government has allocated 13 billion dollars towards high speed rail systems across the country. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson wants some of that money to go to the Texas T-Bone Corridor, which would link San Antonio to Dallas.

HUTCHINSON: It's a great plan that is coming forward and I think could go right into Amtrak, can have a lot of great results. And I hope that it is one of the first projects that can get some of the stimulus funding that would be available.

To get motorists to jump on board, the new trains must go a lot faster than current Amtrak ones. Robert Eckels is the chairman of the Texas High Speed Rail and Transportation Corporation.

ECKELS: Let's be certain that we all have our eyes on the same prize, passenger trains traveling at at least 185 miles an hour or more, on a new dedicated track system. If we have that separate infrastructure, we improve safety, reduce collisions and improve economic benefits to the community.

Congress still has to decide which states would get the high speed rail money. California and Midwestern states are also competing with Texas. Given the packed agenda in Congress it may be awhile before a decision is made.