8:15 a.m. KTSA Morning Edge Commentary 10/8/2002

Commuter Rail

Bexar County Commissioners are considering whether a San Antonio - Austin commuter rail system might eventually be feasible.

Discussion today, a vote tomorrow. On the agenda it reads: Intermunicipal Commuter Rail District for the Austin-San Antonio corridor.

About five years ago, Senator Jeff Wentworth got the legislature to approve creation of a commuter rail district. The idea is that counties and towns along the corridor will form the Rail District, so everyone involved has a say. The District could ask for federal money to help.

Commissioners will deal with the issue of Bexar County's involvement. This is not a behind-your-back scheme to get light rail before anyone notices what's going on.

If it was, it'd be a #1 talk show topic. We would have conspiracy theories and get outraged and fire off a lot of email.

Nothing that exciting. Even if the throttle got shoved wide open on the commuter train idea, it wouldn't happen in my lifetime or yours, because there are so many conflicting interests. Would Union Pacific be kicked off its own track for a commuter train? Would tax money build a replacement railroad along the new State Highway 130 project? There are hundreds more questions with no real right answers.

If we ever get Austin - San Antonio commuter rail, it'll be long after the Tailpipe Emission Rebellion of 2009, and the Great Texas Nuclear Water War of 2075.

I'm Brad Messer with commentary at 8:15 on KTSA's Morning Edge.

Internet links
Rail: Item 1.7 on today's Bexar County Court work session (pdf)
Profiles of Texas Mass Transit Authorities
Freight Rail vs.Commuter Rail Debate
On federal funding for commuter rail

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