Lone Star Rail District
The Lone Star Rail project is the first large-scale commuter rail project in Texas. It is a joint effort among cities, counties, transit authorities, and metropolitan planning organizations in the Central and South-Central Texas regions. It was created to address the increasing traffic along the 118 mile I-35 corridor connecting the Austin and San Antonio metropolitan areas. This effort includes development of a new through freight relocation line east of the metropolitan areas, coupled with continuation of local freight and addition of passenger rail service along the existing Union Pacific Railroad right of way that parallels I-35. The project is currently conducting an environmental impact study (EIS) under the sponsorship of the Federal Highway Administration and working with potential client communities to establish local funding for the local freight/passenger rail service’s operating and maintenance expenses (O&M). Federal approval of the study is anticipated in 2017, and will correspond with final design efforts. It is anticipated that project construction will commence following receipt of the EIS record of decision under a public-private partnership (P3) established to construct, operate and manage the local freight/passenger service.
Knudson has been instrumental in coordinating the local funding solicitation effort with each of the client communities to receive rail service along the Lone Star Rail local freight/passenger rail corridor. This effort includes acting as the project lead in identifying local funding sources or mechanisms, developing the overall O&M funding strategy, modeling each client community’s participation and the aggregate funding forecast and negotiating implementing interlocal agreements with each client community.