Plans For A Valley Commuter Rail Underway

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POSTED: Tuesday, September 27, 2011 - 7:53am

UPDATED: Tuesday, September 27, 2011 - 7:53am

HIDALGO COUNTY - Train tracks are all over the valley but what you rarely see is the trains. Well in the next decade or so that may change. Plans to turn existing train tracks into a self supporting commuter rail are well underway.

Jim Edge, Vice Chairmen of the Hidalgo County Rail District says the valley has become congested
and the need for a transportation system is evident.

"That's buses, that's trains, that's automobiles, that's bicycles, he said. "In the long run, for our people this is going to be an improvement of quality for their lifestyle."

Several drivers in the upper valley agree.

The new commuter rail will allow people to travel anywhere within the valley, changing the way people get around.

One of the biggest challenges will be replacing old road beds with concrete tiles and making sure the 313 railroad crossings in the valley are working properly. It will cost about $300 million but it has to be done in the name of safety. The rail district has conducted several in depth studies..
Looking into safety, estimated rider ship, operating costs and most importantly, economic development.

It usually takes 20-30 years to construct a transportation system but Edge hopes to do it in ten.
The final step for the rail district is looking federal state and local funding. If all goes well, the valley can kiss all that traffic and those high gas prices good bye.

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