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Study of potential corridors to study could be costly

Monday, March 21, 2016 by Caleb Pritchard

Union Pacific’s breakup with the Lone Star Rail District isn’t going to be cheap if the effort to bring passenger rail service to Central Texas manages to move forward. In a letter to top LSTAR officials dated March 11, the engineering firm working with the district on its environmental impact study estimated that finding alternative right-of-way to analyze will cost $1.42 million and take up to eight months. Burns & McDonnell’s Shari Cannon-Mackey also identified potential candidate corridors that could be explored, including I-35, State Highway 130, the MoKan corridor and Capital Metro’s Red Line route. Cannon-Mackey suggested that the final choice could be a combination of several corridors. The Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization’s Transportation Policy Board is meeting on Monday to decide whether to freeze funding for LSTAR in the wake of Union Pacific’s decision last month to walk away from discussions about letting passenger rail service run on its existing freight lines.

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