Financing the South Orient Upgrades

In August 2005 the federal government passed a spending bill SAFETEA-LU for funding surface transportation as in railroad improvements. As mentioned in an earlier post, TxDot October ’05 report titled “Texas Rail System Plan” recognizes the rail funding available in SAFETEA-LU. The following is pasted indirectly from that report. The required criteria for funding consideration, matches the South Orient as if it were the poster child for what these funds were intended for. Where are we with filling the request for funding application, for consideration? I will dig into this issue and report back.

Sec. 9003 – Rail Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing (RRIF). This program provides loans and loan guarantees for projects such as rail relocations, acquisition, development, improvement, or rehabilitation of intermodal and rail equipment or facilities, or projects that will enhance service and capacity in the national transportation system. Changes were made to the program which had been criticized for having too many obstacles to participation. Projects are prioritized based on the following criteria:

Texas Rail System Plan 6 – 3


Chapter Six – Funding

  • Included in state transportation plan(s)

  • Enhance safety

  • Enhance the environment

  • Enhance or preserve service to small communities or rural areas

  • Enhance service and capacity in the national transportation system

  • Promote economic development

  • Promote U.S. competitiveness



2 responses to “Financing the South Orient Upgrades

  1. Jane Woodward Elioseff

    Your website is great but it fails to mention that the region that includes Marfa and Fort Davis has the cleanest air in Texas (air quality zone 0-25; Alpine is in zone 25-50). This is the place people with respiratory or allergy problems come to get relief, if they can still live independently.

    The good air and low humidity are also part of the draw for the region’s important retirement and second-home population.

    Absolutely crazy to destroy what is being created in Marfa. Let them send those trucks by an established route, and require strict pollution controls. NAFTA itself needs to be rethunk.


  2. Jane, thanks for contributing. You hit on the very reason the Big Bend region attracts the many tourists and new residents. We are blessed with some the best air quality in the country. However recent studies show our air quality is affected by emissions from industry and vehicles hundreds of miles away. It’s a no brainer that added truck traffic will only serve to continue the decline of our air quality.
    We will have to fight to protect this regional natural resource.

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