Travel in the Lone Star State can be tough, and traveling on Interstate 35 is easily one of the most aggravating aspects of living in Central Texas.
Last year, the Texas Department of Transportation named a stretch of I-35 between Austin and San Antonio as the number one most congested roadway in the state—a clear and evident problem for Bobcats and locals who wish to seamlessly travel between the two cities. Drivers often find themselves crawling slowly along the way rather than reaching their destinations conveniently.
Luckily, a viable solution to these transportation troubles is on the horizon. Lone Star Rail District has proposed a passenger railway service to connect the areas between Austin and San Antonio, allowing commuters to hop on an LSTAR train and bypass the nightmare of I-35 altogether.
However, the project is currently facing some major issues. Lone Star Rail’s initial strategy for the railway was to utilize the current Union Pacific freight tracks as its railroad option, but this plan fell through in February when Union Pacific withdrew its support of the project.
Since then, Lone Star Rail has been working diligently to find a suitable alternative option of tracks to use. Sid Covington, chairman of the board of directors of the Lone Star Rail District, stated in his special to the Austin-American Statesman that engineers at Lone Star Rail have found new viable track options.
Right now, Lone Star Rail could use support from locals—students included! Many of us at Texas State could benefit from the implementation of a passenger rail connecting the region. Travel to Austin and San Antonio for work, internships and weekend pleasure would be more convenient and less of a hassle. Time previously spent driving could be spent studying, relaxing or chatting with friends on the train.
Bobcats will be happy to know that the Lone Star Rail is prioritizing the needs of Texas State students in its considerations for the railway. Joseph Black, deputy executive director of Lone Star Rail District, said the Bobcats are never too far from his mind.
“One of the district’s main priorities is to implement access to educational opportunities up and down the Austin-San Antonio corridor,” Black said. “It will include shuttle bus transfer facilities to make possible a quick cross-platform transfer between LSTAR trains and Bobcat tram buses.”
Regarding the influx of in-town railway traffic, Black said one goal of Lone Star Rail District is to work with cities to send traffic over or under the railroad. Anything to decrease the current wait time for trains is a positive and sounds like a good plan. The Lone Star Rail can revolutionize transportation for San Marcos residents, especially Texas State students. It is a track in the right direction.
A streamlined passenger rail system would prove beneficial for townies and students alike. Bobcats should be encouraged to take action and initiative by contacting local officials to make this new means of transportation a reality.