At the June 2009 meeting of the Texas Transportation Commission, TxDOT Assistant Director Phil Russell provided a first look at a proposed Rail Division for TxDOT, focusing on both passenger and freight rail planning for the future. If created, the new Rail Division would have a Rail Division Director, with four departments under that to-be-named person's purview including Operations, Railroad Crossings, Safety and Project Development.
Commissioners indicated that it would be a wise move to create a Rail Division. Commissioner Bill Meadows voiced that "the Commission needs to take a leadership position on rail", citing that other states are far ahead of Texas on rail planning and development.
In July 2009, Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) officials submitted seventeen preapplications to the Federal Railroad Administration for a variety of rail projects across the state. The competitive grant program is a part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) and advances the Obama Administration’s vision for high-speed intercity passenger rail throughout the nation. In all, $8 billion in ARRA funds, in addition to a little over $90 million in FY 2008 and 2009 federal appropriations are available through this program. To find out more, you can view a list of TxDOT’s proposed projects.
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