AUSTIN, Texas – Governor Rick Perry announced today the details of his comprehensive “Trans Texas Corridor” plan, incorporating roads, rail, and utility infrastructure.
Jeff Judson, president of the Texas Public Policy Foundation, said the fiscally responsible plan aggressively addresses Texas’ transportation needs.
“As the governor has said in the past, Texas’ funding emphasis must be on what can move the most people for the lowest amount of money,” said Judson. “The governor’s plan creatively ends the piece-meal approach to transportation planning of the past. This is the best plan on the table to efficiently move people and freight across our state.”
Transportation expert Wendell Cox – a member of the federal government’s Amtrak Reform Council – agreed, calling the plan “ambitious and visionary.”
“The governor is signaling a new turn, that Texas will be using rational decision-making that will leap-frog road capacity ahead of congestion problems, rather than trying to always play catch-up. This is crucial to job creation and the continued economic advancement of the nation’s second largest state,” said Cox, whose October 2001 study of the impact freight rail can have on congestion is available at the Texas Public Policy Foundation web site, www.texaspolicy.com.
“This is the first time any of the nation’s major elected leaders, whether in Washington or in the states, has fully recognized the important role freight rail can play in Texas’ transportation policy.”
Cox said better utilization of rail and specialized truck roadways for moving freight across Texas would quickly improve traffic congestion, while considerably reducing roadway wear-and-tear.
With trucks taking 3.8 times the road space of a single car, moving freight from truck to rail quickly decreases traffic congestion. Further, rail is able to move freight at a lower environmental cost than trucks.
The governor said today that Texas’ population could more than double “in the next few decades.”
Current projections call for a 100 percent increase in truck traffic through Texas’ urban areas by 2020, which would increase total urban traffic by the equivalent of 20 percent. But if rail freight’s market share continues its decline to the levels seen in Europe, truck traffic could increase 235 percent – the equivalent of a 49 percent increase in overall traffic.