Sunday, April 11, 2010

Hazardous Freight Rail Bypass through Eastern Central Texas

The CAMPO 2035 Draft Transportation Plan shows a Hazardous Materials Rail Bypass between FM 973 and Coupland. If you are in the Southeastern Williamson or Eastern Travis County area, please be aware of this proposal.

You can send comments to CAMPO about this bypass; the deadline is April 13.

There are many reasons that the proposed rail bypass is not a good idea. The rationale for the bypass is to free up the line through Austin for passenger rail. However, there is not enough demand for passenger rail between these cities, and there is not enough public transportation to move passengers around these cities if they arrive by train. There will not be enough passengers paying enough for tickets to support the service. Texas and local taxpayers will all be paying for the rail transportation of relatively few passengers.

Since there is no need for the passenger rail through Austin, there is no need for the proposed bypass through the SE Williamson/E Travis Co. area.

The bypass will cause the unnecessary destruction of all the natural and cultural resources that will need to be studied in the Environmental Impact Statement that will be required for this project. The land east of Austin is part of the Blackland Prairie that is ranked as some of the most valuable farmland in the world by authorities such as National Geographic. (September 2008, “Our Good Earth—The future rests on the soil beneath our feet—Can we save it?”) The map on page 92 shows the Blackland Prairie through Central Texas as “highly fertile” and “highly fertile at risk.”

The bypass will unnecessarily cause damage to the natural resources, such as farmland, streams, vegetation, and wildlife. The bypass also will damage the cultural resources of communities, historic sites, and residences.

If rail advocates are determined to build this unnecessary bypass, they should place it along SH 130. SH 130 already forms a corridor east of Austin and already has overpasses. Use SH 130 rather than tearing up more land and dividing communities.

To send in comments, please go to:
At the top of the page, there are links to see the entire CAMPO plan and a link to the comment page.
The section is entitled “Public Comment Opportunity on the draft 2035 Plan.”
The deadline for comments is April 13 at 5 p.m.

1 comment:

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