The Jeffersonian: Politicks, Sports, and Culture

Friday, March 25, 2005

Austin-San Antonio commuter rail?

B & B has a post about the possible Austin-San Antonio commuter rail. All I can say is, yes, yes, for the love of God DO IT!!! I spent 2 1/2 hours on the road yesterday driving from San Antonio to Austin. I hit rush hour in BOTH cities. In between you have the honor of going through Schertz/Cibolo/Universal City, New Braunfels, and San Marcos with 18-wheelers whizzing by you. I would jump at the chance to drive to a rail site, plunk down $12 and be able to read/work/sleep while not having to worry about staying alive or keeping my ass from getting another ticket.

The San Antonio Express-News has had quite a few columns about this in the past month. Here's today's article, here's the article that ran on March 13, here's Bruce Davidson's column on the possibility of commuter rail from March 6, and finally two more articles from March 3 and Feb. 19.

According to Bruce Davidson, 5 million people will live between San Antonio and Georgetown by 2020. Add the fact that this 110 mile stretch of road is already one of the most dangerous in the country, and we've got ourselves a problem. It would take about 90 minutes to get from downtown San Antonio to the downtown Austin stop with about 12 stops on the whole route way. I can deal with that.

Of course it seems the usual, petty, bickering that normally happens in San Antonio when something big happens is starting to arise:

"East side activist Charles English said he's not happy that conceptual maps show the commuter route running west of downtown, with a potential station near the University of Texas at San Antonio Downtown Campus. He believes it should go to the east, through Sunset Station where Amtrak stops.

'I'm sad,' he said. 'They have taken out the key element that will help connect the East side to the rest of the city."

These trains would run on old Union Pacific lines; now I know that the lines west of downtown are Union Pacifc lines, but I do not know about the lines that stop at Sunset Station. But we're talking about a difference of 1.5 miles here. The rail line is supposed to connect San Antonio to Austin, not San Antonio to itself (that's a different story entirely).

Initial service wouldn't start for another 4 years (and they're already behind schedule), but it looks like we're starting to grow up here in South Central Texas. The Austin-San Antonio Rail District's website is- www.asarail.org.