[Harris Count Judge Ed] Emmett was more optimistic than Henry on the prospect for passenger rail service between Houston and Galveston, as well as high speed rail between Houston and Dallas.
“There is good news on that front,” Emmett said, noting the emergence of Gulf Coast Rail District. “It is the entity that we need to focus on that can draw down the federal grants and state grants and they can cooperate with the Texas Department of Transportation in doing these projects.”
Correction: (Guidry News Service incorrectly reported in our original posting of this article that Emmett suggested that light rail, rather than full size commuter rail, be considered for the Houston to Galveston route. Instead, Emmett specifically noted that no one has envisioned the line as a light rail line, but as a less-expensive commuter rail line that could someday serve as a pre-cursor to a high-speed rail project.) [BH Note: Judge Emmett’s office informs that the original news item got this line wrong originally. We have posted the original source’s inline correction in bold. See also Joe Stinebaker’s comment in the forum]
“We can actually sell this as a pre-curser to a high speed rail project,” Emmett said. “I think that rail will begin to move forward. And for those who say rail never pays for itself, neither do highways.”
Perhaps the best news for taxpayers is that the current fiscal condition of both the state and federal governments means there are far fewer tax dollars to be directed to these expensive, frequently underperforming, projects.