The Board of Directors of the Gulf Coast Rail District on Tuesday voted unanimously to authorize Executive Director Maureen Crocker to issue a request for qualifications for Phase II of the Fort Bend Bypass Analysis. Listen
“The Glidden Subdivision, which runs along US 90A through Fort Bend County is congested with freight rail traffic,” Crocker said. “It is also operating in a corridor that is heavily congested with commuter traffic; and there have been studies, most notably by H-GAC, that looked at commuter rail potential in that corridor.”
Crocker said the H-GAC study recommended a bypass.
“Union Pacific clearly states in its passenger rail principles that they would prefer that freight and passenger rail not operate in the same corridor,” Crocker said. “So, from the Fort Bend County perspective, that actually has a double benefit because there are many in that community that would like to remove the freight from that densely developed and highly residential corridor and take it into undeveloped parts of the county; and then also use the existing corridor for commuter traffic.”
Stafford Mayor Leonard Scarcella, who voted in favor of the item, said that he has serious concerns about the proposal.
“I’ve read carefully this resolution,” Scarcella said. “I think there needs to be a few points made and a few observations that give me concern.”
Scarcella said he is concerned about Union Pacific’s participation in the project.
“We are talking in here about a triple freight track,” he noted. “I’ve had a lot of consternation over a double freight track. Now we are talking about a triple freight track and we’re talking about a double passenger rail track.”
Bill Jameson, who represents Fort Bend County Commissioners Court on the board, spoke in favor of the bypass study.
“In trying to move commuter rail forward on that corridor, which I think is probably the most feasible corridor in the region for commuter rail, it seems to me like you’ve got to be able to do something with U.P. on a bypass,” Jameson said.
Billy Cooke of Klotz Associates and Tom Munson of Transystems, updated the board on the Hemstead Corridor Commuter Rail Feasibility Analysis. Listen
Two new members joined the board. Listen
Judge Dwight Jefferson, a member of the METRO Board of Directors, was appointed as an ex-officio member and Ronnie Moore was appointed by Galveston County Judge Mark Henry to replace Bill Ross.
All other agenda items were approved. All votes were unanimous. Agenda
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