Texas Students Call for High-Speed Rail
November 20, 2014
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (#14-17)
November 19, 2014
Sean Jeans-Gail, NARP – 202-408-8362
Texas Students Call for High-Speed Rail
Student Government Associations Highlight Economic Importance of Passenger Trains for Future of Texas Economy
Encouraged by the National Association of Railroad Passenger’s campaign to recruit the next generation of transportation leaders, student government associations at Sam Houston State University and the University of North Texas issued resolutions this month in support of Texas Central Railway’s privately funded high-speed rail project to connect Dallas and Houston.
Both resolutions emphasize that mobility is a vital component of a successful academic experience, allowing students to commute to campus, participate fully in college programs and activities on offer, and access professional development opportunities in urban centers. UNT’s resolution stated that passenger trains are a vital element in Texas’ development strategy; therefore they “support State and Federal support for the continued expansion of local passenger train service.” This recognizes that Millennials are moving away from automotive dependence, showing an increased preference to stay connected through electronic devices while traveling.
The student government associations also argued that HSR will be a critical factor in remaining internationally competitive. International students and faculty expect the mobility and quality of life that come with well-developed rail and transit systems. To remain a global thought leader, American universities will need to develop modern campuses capable of attracting the best talent.
“There’s been a lot of criticism about a lack of engagement among people under 30. But when we give young people a reason to become part of the conversation, we’ve seen the kind of enthusiasm and drive on display in the work done by these students,” said NARP President Jim Mathews. “What TCR has done is provide a compelling vision of the future. NARP is committed to carrying that vision to other parts of the country and building a coalition of Millennials to demand the world class rail system Americans deserve.”
“We are so grateful to have the support of these Texas Universities. As a parent of a college freshman, I understand that this system has to work for Texans now and for generations to come. We appreciate the significant input of these college students and all other stakeholders as TCR continues its work to make this transformational project a reality.” - Robert Eckels, TCR President
Copies of both resolutions are included below.
About the National Association of Railroad Passengers
NARP is the only national organization speaking for the users of passenger trains and rail transit. We have worked since 1967 to expand the quality and quantity of passenger rail in the U.S. Our mission is to work towards a modern, customer-focused national passenger train network that provides a travel choice Americans want. Our work is supported by more 28,000 individual members nationwide.
Sam Houston State University Student Government Association
Support for the Texas Central Railway
Author: Director Drew B. Carson
Sponsor: Senator Bannon, Senator Lund, Senator Ross, Senator Johnson, Senator Mbaba, Senator Perez, Senator Ronaldo
Date: November 4, 2014
Whereas: The Sam Houston State University Student Government Association acts as “The Official Voice of The Student Body”; and
Whereas: Creation of the Texas Central Railway will distinguish the State of Texas as a leader in the development of mass transit infrastructures in the United States; and
Whereas: Capitalist economies and beliefs demand competition in a market in order to survive, thrive, and innovate; and
Whereas: Student mobility is vital to a successful academic career and college experience, and the Sam Houston State University Student Government Association is committed to supporting and providing student accessibility to and from campus; and
Whereas: The demand of Houston and Dallas commuting students to Sam Houston State University has increased substantially in the recent years; and
Whereas: Many out of state and international students travel to and from Sam Houston State University would have a greater proclivity to use public transportation; and
Whereas: Sam Houston State University ought to support efforts to increase the number of students involved in study abroad and international internships directly related to their field of study; and
Whereas: The Texas Central Railroad, offers Sam Houston State University the opportunity to continue national leadership in bringing students from around the world to study on its campus; and
Whereas: The Sam Houston State University Student Government Association values accessibility; as measured by every student’s ability to participate in programs; and
Whereas: Convenient transportation is a major factor in quality of life, thus solidifying the importance of public transit infrastructure development and ought be a vital element in the University and State’s business development strategy; and
Whereas: High speed rail is the safest method of travel among all other transportation options and recent studies show a declining interest in auto transportation; and more interest in using commute time for electronic devices and/or productive work; therefor
Be it enacted: That the Student Government Association of Sam Houston State University strongly recommend and call for the consideration and support of local, state, and federal efforts in the creation of the Texas Central Railway and other programs like it; and
Be it further enacted: That copies of this resolution be sent to President Dana Hoyt, Dean of Students John Yarabeck, The Houstonian, and Channel 7 News, Mayor Mac Woodward, Huntsville Texas Chamber of Commerce, Texas Central Chairman and CEO Richard Lawless, Texas Central President Robert Eckels, Texas Central Government Relations Travis Kelly, Texas Central Outreach Coordinator Rebecca Cowle, Director of Development at National Association of Railroad Passengers Logan Mcleod, Federal Railroad Administration Administrator Joseph C. Szabo .
University of North Texas Student Government Association
Support for the Passenger Rail Network
Resolution Fall 2014-08
WHEREAS the University of North Texas Student Government Association is committed to supporting and providing student accessibility to and from campus; and
WHEREAS student mobility is vital to a successful academic career and college experience; and
WHEREAS there has been an increase in the number of global opportunities for students, including tourism; and
WHEREAS international students have a greater proclivity to use and rely on public transportation; and
WHEREAS UNT also values accessibility in that we believe that every student should have the ability to participate in our programs and that we provide assistance to make our programs and services available to all members of UNT; and
WHEREAS convenient transportation is a major factor in quality of life, thereby [or this] making good passenger rail service a vital element in the State’s business development strategy;
LET IT BE RESOLVED that the University of North Texas Student Government Association support State and Federal support for the continued expansion of local passenger train service.
"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