State of Rail in Texas STATE OF RAIL IN TEXAS Erik Steavens Rail Division Director, TxDOT

State of Rail in Texas STATE OF RAIL IN TEXAS Erik Steavens Rail Division Director, TxDOT

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State of Rail in Texas

STATE OF RAIL IN TEXASErik SteavensRail Division Director, TxDOT

State of Rail in Texas

TxDOT’s Rail Division mission

Mission of the Rail Division

“To facilitate the continuing development, improvement, and

maintenance of a best in class rail system for the state of Texas.”


State of Rail in Texas

RRD Structure

13 FTE positions allocated to RRD– $1,125,528 salaries & overheads budget fy 15– $38,954,547 project budget – varies annually by federal grant amounts &

Legislative appropriations

Rail Administration – 4 FTEs

Rail Programs Section – 5 FTEs– Project management/oversight for state & fed funded rail programs & projects– Management of lease/operating agreements on state owned/funded facilities– Analysis & needs assessments of existing infrastructure– Technical expertise for DDO’s, local governments

Rail Planning Section – 4 FTEs– Freight & passenger rail system wide planning– Coordination of planning efforts with Federal, State, Local, Private entities– Analysis of federal & state legislation & impacts on rail system


State of Rail in Texas

Texas Rail Trivia


10,469 miles of track in Texas, 1st in nation

9,728 public, 4,801 private at-grade highway-rail crossings; 2,378 grade separated; most crossings in nation

92.9 million tons of rail freight originated in Texas annually, 1.9 million carloads (2012 most recent data); 3rd in nation

206.6 million tons of rail freight terminated in Texas annually, 3.1 million carloads (2012 same data); 1st in nation

2040 projected rail freight at 764 million tons, exceeds system capacity

Rail Division (RRD) formed in 2009 per a Sunset Advisory Commission recommendation


State of Rail in Texas


Funding Constraints Strong Property Rights State Conservative Culture Energy Sector Growth


State of Rail in Texas

Rail Project Funding

Federal Funding No dedicated rail funding source Limited competitive grant opportunities (TIGER,

HSIPR) Railroad Relocation & Improvement Funds – FRA loan


State Funding Most TxDOT revenues constitutionally dedicated to

highways Texas RRIF established in 2005 but remains unfunded Some specific legislative appropriations, minor vs



State of Rail in Texas

Tower 55 Project - Complete

$101 million = $33M Federal, $1M state administered by TxDOT, balance BNSF & UPRR

– New track construction, rehabilitation, bridge work, roadway construction, roadway underpass improvements, bicycle-pedestrian improvements

Construction completed Sept. 30, 2014; dedication ceremony Nov. 7, 2014


State of Rail in Texas

Houston Belt Junction Project

Single track bottleneck with 100 grade crossings in area

Project double tracks thru junction & new turnout connecting 4th quadrant

$6.87 million project, 50% railroads, 50% CMAQ

Improves train fluidity

Reduces train delays

Reduces blocked crossing times


State of Rail in Texas

South Orient Rail Line

391 mile facility owned by State

Leased to Texas Pacifico Transportation

$26 million rehabilitation east end, 2009 – 2012

Increased carloads from 2,031 average to 25,360 in 2014 (+1,148%)

Additional $5M rehabilitation currently in construction, San Angelo – west

Seeking additional state & federal funds for rehab to border at Presidio

1 of 8 international rail bridges between U.S. & Mexico


State of Rail in Texas

Northeast Texas RRTD Line - NETEX

66.5 mile state owned facility

Operated by Blacklands Railroad

Good rail, poor ties & bridges

$57 million rehabilitation needs

Goal is 25 mph speeds

Seeking state/fed funds

Alternative funding mechanisms


State of Rail in Texas

Amtrak’s Heartland Flyer

Fort Worth to Oklahoma City Once daily service in each direction Subsidized by TxDOT & ODOT Ridership trending downward past 3 years Revenues trending downward past 3 years Schedule not conducive for commuter service Questionable long-term future


State of Rail in Texas

Neches Rail Bridge

Sunset Route from LA to New Orleans

Single track, 20 mph lift bridge at Beaumont

Double track in each direction one mile from bridge

Significant capacity constraint for freight & Amtrak

PE/NEPA project currently underway

Identify & clear 2nd crossing location

Facilitate funding & construction


State of Rail in Texas

Lone Star Regional Rail Project

Project to develop commuter rail from Austin to San Antonio

Lone Star Rail District has contracted for PE/NEPA work

RRD provides fiscal oversight of state/fed funding Scoping meetings completed in June 2015 Goal to use existing UP tracks for commuter rail

service Looking at alternatives to relocate UP from existing



State of Rail in Texas

Texas-Oklahoma Passenger Rail Study

IH-35 is congested and will continue to get more congested as Texas grows.

Higher-speed passenger rail service could fit the needs of many travelers and reduce demand on the state’s roadways.

Tier One, program-level NEPA study will provide a blueprint for feasible rail improvements.


State of Rail in Texas

Potential Investor Driven High-Performance Rail Corridors

State of Rail in Texas

Looking Ahead

Projects under development

TRE Valley View double track – diverts Amtrak from T-55

Laredo sealed corridor

Improvements to State Owned Rail facilities

High Performance Rail – Work with public and private sector interests to facilitate the implementation of investor driven corridors

Freight Rail – Proactively manage state-owned facilities, facilitate the development of a strategic rail network, and coordinate the interaction of rail with other modes.


State of Rail in Texas


[email protected]