The Trans-Texas Corridor Is Dead

THE TRANS-TEXAS CORRIDOR IS DEAD But maybe it’ll come back, with a new name! In response to public outcry, the ambitious proposal to create the Trans-Texas Corridor network has been dropped and will be replaced with a plan to carry out road projects at an incremental, modest pace, a state transportation official announced today. ‘The Trans-Texas Corridor, as it is known, no longer exists,’ said Amadeo Saenz, Jr., executive director of the Texas Department of Transportation a forum in Austin. The state, he said, will carry forward with modifications to proposed projects and will rely heavily upon input from Texans through more town hall meetings and an updated Web site. He also made clear that, should toll lanes be added to various roads, tolls will be assessed only on those, and not existing lanes. The renewed effort now will operate under the name ‘Innovative Connectivity Plan.’ Saenz also said the state will continue to pursue various projects, including the Interstate 69 project. If, however, more lanes are needed along U.S. 59, the state will simply widen that roadway, Saenz said.” [Houston Chronicle]

8 Comment

  • This just tells me they are ridding of the TTC name and nothing else.

    There a tons of projects ongoing in early planning phase that implement the TTC concept. Look at SH 130 that parallels I-35. That is the TTC project in pieces. The median is designed to have rail as the TTC wanted.

    The method now is just to build in many segments toll roads as needed that will eventually come together to create the TTC base.

  • If Texas is to get its piece of the Obama pie, it better get those “shovel ready” projects up and ready to go. Otherwise we will be paying forever for big digs in New England with our Texas tax dollars. At least if we get some pie, our kids will have a benefit from the multi trillion $ Obama deficit.

  • If they want to build the TTC, they have to give it a sexier name! Like Interstate 69, the only freeway that could double as the title of a porno film.

  • Hey,

    And segments of I-69 already exist.

    The Michigan portion is completed.

    The northern Indiana portion is completed.

    Mississippi has a piece built.

    Tennessee is working on theirs.

    The corridor regardless of the TTC is a high priority corridor of the USDOT and pretty much whatever the state puts forth for federal approval will move forward.

  • Here’s a concept for Texas…..a train system!!!

    Never gonna happen….but a good idea, look at the northeast.

  • Yeah, and the ticket for using the ACELA train in the northeast is more expensive than a plane flight for the same distance here in TX.

    An $80 flight from Hobby to Dallas Love or a $200 train ticket? On top of that the train would still be highly unprofitable to operate.

  • “An $80 flight from Hobby to Dallas Love or a $200 train ticket? On top of that the train would still be highly unprofitable to operate.”

    I hear this kind of statement from anti-rail types all the time. But somehow Europe and Japan manage to have long-distance high-speed rails. Surely the fuel cost must be less. Is it really that much more expensive?

  • RWB,

    Your statement is a valid one to ask. A pure anti-rail type would just lash out. The reality is that if a rail is to operate outside of government funding, it needs to have a valuable cargo that will pay for it. In the US, no passenger transit service operates close to this outside of the airline industry (and even that is not very well). It is too cheap and efficient to move people by cars.
    The movement of goods by rail has been very profitable industry and in the last 20 years has seen a boom in need. Even with that, we still move most of our goods by truck because of the flexibility. The TTC actually if implemented eventually would have assisted in reducing truck traffic by also providing and efficient and crossing free rail path. The TTC would have a also had rail capacity to potentially make passenger rail service possible. The funny thing is that as much as pro-rail types harped against the TTC for being a super river of concrete, it actually would have been the fastest implementation of city to city rail within Texas. Dual track rail within the median of the TTC was designed on strict criteria which would have allowed higher speeds. Also, at grade crossing would have been all but eliminated except at station facilities near large cities. Transfers to local transit networks would have taken passengers into the city.

    Japan is a great example of where rail is in good use and is quite a necessity. Even with that, Japan still has a large freeway network (and expensive toll bridges). All of Japan’s railways are public/private partnership (similar to the new toll roads here in Texas and much of Europe). The Japanese government assisted in planning, but the construction and operation is very much a private venture under strict government control. The volume of passengers on these trains make them very profitable.

    In Europe, much all the rail transit is government (taxpayer) subsidized. More privatized ventures such at the rail the connects the UK, France, and Belgium through the Chunnel was partially privatized, but quickly fell in financial distressed and needed government funding (put shortly: it couldn’t support itself).

    With all that said, cities like Houston, Dallas, Austin and San Antonio are not good markets for passenger rail. The limited rail in Houston is the best implementation in Texas by having a high passenger per mile rate. So much so, the total passengers on our small line challenge that of Dallas and Atlanta’s rail lines. I’m not a big champion for rail because most of the time it’s a waste of money. I do like Houston’s LRT system and future lines for one primary reason. Houston (even without a lack formal zoning) is quickly urbanizing in the area from Downtown to Uptown with the Medical center anchoring the south end. There is little room for road expansion in this area which means capacity is limited. LRT is good way to add capacity for the future. In the end, the system will never be profitable though, but considering in about 20 years it may very well be quite a valuable resource to move around the inner city.

    To your point, fuel cost is not the major concern in high speed rail (especially if it’s electric). The major cost is routine maintenance and initial construction cost. We in the US treasure our private property. The massive opposition to the TTC would also occur for a high speed rail venture. Although it’s much less in area than the TTC, to make an efficient high speed rail a straight route will have to trample over a lot of property and can’t weave as easily as a highway alone could.