Today, TxDOT voted to award Capital Metro $50 million to purchase four additional MetroRail cars and help construct a permanent, expanded downtown rail station at its Transportation Commission meeting in Pasadena.
Long-time transportation and infrastructure advocate State Representative Celia Israel applauded TxDOT's commitment to multi-modal solutions to Texas's transportation challenges.
"Today's historic and unprecedented use of resources will play a critical role in helping to ease Central Texas congestion, " Israel said. "While there is no quick fix for the traffic problems of our area, today's vote represents a new era in how we tackle the continuing growth of our region and state."
The state grant, when combined with recent federal and local investments, will enable Capital Metro to increase the frequency of trains on the Red Line, cutting the wait-time from 34 minutes during peak travel periods to 15 minutes. It will also allow for the addition of a late train after 7 p.m., giving more commuters a convenient alternative to their own vehicles.
“The 'Red Line' is a heavily used asset now, and the support of TXDOT will provide Central Texans more ways to move around, ease congestion and plan for growth in this key corridor,” Israel said.
The state grant will dovetail with the $11M in federal TIGER funding that Capital Metro received in 2013 to lay double track near downtown and increase the capacity of the 32-mile commuter line. The Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery, or TIGER Discretionary Grant program, provides a unique opportunity for the Department of Transportation to invest in road, rail, transit and port projects that promise to achieve critical national objectives.