Texas Department of Transportation officials are working on an ongoing study in an effort to expand rail service from Oklahoma City to South Texas.

With continued growth along the Interstate 35 corridor, TxDOT initiated the Texas-Oklahoma Rail Study to enhance transportation options, improve movement, cut down on I-35 congestion, reduce demand on Texas’ roadways, and possibly include a high-speed rail alternative.

The study examines several rail service options for the 850-mile corridor from Oklahoma City to South Texas. It will consider the corridor as a whole, but also will focus on three portions of the corridor, including:

  • The area from Oklahoma City to the Dallas and Fort Worth area.
  • The area from Dallas-Fort Worth to San Antonio.
  • The area from San Antonio to Corpus Christi, Laredo and the Rio Grande Valley.

Several improvements for these areas are being considered, including the possibility of high speed trains, which would have peak speeds of 220 mph. The trains could roll through local areas.

“When you go to Dallas and Fort Worth, you come through our area,” TxDOT spokesman Ken Roberts said. “There are a number of options being considered. Where would stops be most effective? Does it stop in Hillsboro, Waco or Temple, or go further south?”

Roberts said the study considers future stops, new routes and existing corridors.

“In order to be feasible, it has to be beneficial to potential riders,” he added.

TxDOT has held public meetings — one was held Monday in Waco — regarding the study, and more are certain to follow. Because the corridor extends into Oklahoma, the Oklahoma Department of Transportation is a partner in the study.

Transit service providers, railroads, metropolitan planning organizations, city and county officials and community members are invited to engage in study details. Those wishing to do so can participate at www.txokrail-event.org.

The study is scheduled to conclude by the end of 2014 after the completion of a service-level environmental impact statement and a service development plan.

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