Rail Passengers Final STB Comments Regarding Texas Central
June 1, 2018
Earlier this month, Texas Central asked the Surface Transportation Board to re-open the railroad's petition that would clear the way for the STB to assume jurisdiction over the Texas high-speed rail project, and Rail Passengers Association filed a letter (available here) supporting that request.
STB said in 2016 that it wasn't clear that the Texas project would have much of an effect on national interstate travel, so the Board felt it didn't have jurisdiction. But the Board said at the time that if TCR were to stroke an agreement coordinating services with Amtrak, that might justify reconsideration.
TCR revealed in its new petition earlier this month that last October Amtrak signed a through-ticketing arrangement so that passengers traveling on either railroad can buy a single ticket for travel that starts on one railroad and ends on the other. This is true interlining, and it's a breakthrough.
With the game now changed, TCR has gone back to STB so as to bring their project under Federal jurisdiction.
In our letter, we highlight the truly national effect of this through-ticketing agreement: the direct link between Houston and Dallas would TCR passengers access to some 13,958 Amtrak route miles and create the opportunity for any one of 12,256 journeys combining TCR and Amtrak travel on a single ticket.
Passengers originating in Houston can use it to connect to the Eagle or the Heartland Flyer via the Eagle. Dallas passengers could use it to connect to the Sunset or to the City or Crescent via the Sunset. That's 4,753 city-pair combinations for Houston passengers and 7,503 for Dallas passengers.
It also for many destinations would eliminate the need to go all the way to Chicago from points South or West just to return to a southern or western destination.
The comment period closed at 5pm on May 31, 2018.
"When [NARP] comes to Washington, you help embolden us in our efforts to continue the progress for passenger rail. And not just on the Northeast Corridor. All over America! High-speed rail, passenger rail is coming to America, thanks to a lot of your efforts! We’re partners in this. ... You are the ones that are going to make this happen. Do not be dissuaded by the naysayers. There are thousands of people all over America who are for passenger rail and you represent the best of what America is about!"
Secretary Ray LaHood, U.S. Department of Transportation
2012 NARP Spring Council Meeting