Clean Transport

Published on January 25th, 2014 | by Important Media Cross-Post


US–Mexico High-Speed Railway Proposed

January 25th, 2014 by  

Originally published on Gas2.
By Heather Carr.

Southeastern High Speed Trains, St Pancras International

A proposed high-speed rail line between the U.S. and Mexico could improve trade, reduce travel time, and increase tourism between the two countries.

Representative Henry Cuellar – who represents a crazy-shaped district in Texas that runs from the west side of San Antonio, around to the south of the city, then takes a sharp left to the Rio Grande above Laredo and down to McAllen – is the author of the idea. Rep. Cuellar, Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) Commissioner Jeff Austin, and Mexican officials met with U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx to discuss the plan on Thursday.

The proposed high-speed rail line would run from San Antonio, Texas to Monterrey, Mexico through Laredo, Texas. The trip, which usually takes five hours to drive, not including stops, would take less than two hours on a high-speed train.

A route from Monterrey, Mexico to San Antonio, Texas might have high speed rail soon." alt="A route from Monterrey, Mexico to San Antonio, Texas might have high speed rail soon.

High-Speed Rail Between Monterrey and San Antonio

Monterrey is a wealthy industrial and business center in Mexico, and is home to the headquarters of many large Mexican and international corporations. In 2008, the GDP of the city was US$102 billion. More than four million people live in the Monterrey metropolitan area, and several naturally beautiful areas surround the city. Combined with the year-round gentle climate, this makes it attractive to outdoors enthusiasts as well.

San Antonio, at the other end of the proposed high-speed rail line, is similarly bustling with industry. The metro area is about half the size of Monterrey’s, with a little over two million people. Caves, natural areas, and theme parks in the region make it a popular tourist destination. It’s also very romantic, if you’re looking for a nice place for a wedding or weekend getaway.

Funding for Texas High Speed Rail

The project would be a joint effort between the U.S. and Mexico. On the Mexican side, funds are already in place to build the infrastructure necessary for new high-rail lines. Construction is planned to begin in 2015 and be finished as early as 2018.

Funding for high-speed rail on the U.S. side is a little more uncertain, although Rep. Cuellar says he believes the proposed high-speed rail would be built using mostly private funds. In recent years, the south Texas economy has relied more and more on construction (and wind farms! We love the wind farms!). Building a high-speed rail line through the area would continue the current economic boom.

With trade between the U.S. and Mexico at about US$500 billion, high-speed rail makes good sense for both the local and national economy. But can a deep-red state like Texas take the lead on a light-blue infrastructure project like high-speed rail?

Source: Daily Mail | Image: Jon Curnow/CC

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  • ebonystone

    Sounds like a line from nowhere to noplace to me. Much more sensible would be one from Mexico City to Los Angeles — both much larger end-points, and with large intermediate cities, like Guadalajara and San Diego. Also this would link up with the proposed California system from L.A. to Frisco and Sacramento.

    • heinbloed

      I fully agree, relying on tourist atractions when designing a modern traffic system is certainly a dead investment.
      Tackle existing airline and highway connections between economical capitals.

  • Nat

    I thought American Airlines had the stranglehold on the state of Texas? Maybe AA, which is technically a person according to the supreme court last time i checked, will be pouring truck loads of cash into the Tea Party coffers to help bring down high speed rail Down, since HSR will run with carbon neutral clean energy. And standing in line to deliver the checks to Rick and Ted , right behind Mr. AA, will be Mrs. Texaco and Uncle Koch Bros Industries, saying please pretty please Grampa Fox News will you tell us a tall tale for our bedtime story.

  • mtracy9

    The article’s author poses the question: “But can a deep-red state like Texas take the lead on a light-blue infrastructure project like high-speed rail?” Let’s ask Southwest Airlines. This is the company that killed HSR in Texas the last time around.

    • Bob_Wallace

      Texas is not a deep red state. It’s transitioning to a blue state. Rural areas will likely stay red, but the cities are different.

      And don’t forget, Texas is a major wind farm site.

      • mtracy9

        Texas seems only interested in infrastructure, if it
        can make some rich guy even richer.

        • Bob_Wallace

          I really don’t care if some people get richer by investing in rewable energy and efficient transportation.

          That, to me, is much better than people getting rich off fossil fuels.

      • Otis11

        How I think of it – Texas is a true conservative stronghold… the thing is, the “Conservative” party no longer truly upholds the conservative ideals while those “Liberal, left-wing hippies” are doing crazy things like conserving natural resources, conserving consumer rights that are being infringed and conserving air and water quality (and sometimes even improving it).

        The truth is (In this conservative’s opinion) we really need something in between, but I’ll let you guess which side is closer.

        And why the hate on Texas? Not directed at your comment, but every time the state comes up, even if the article is positive, the state gets quite the hate mail in the comments…

        • Bob_Wallace

          Why the hate on Texas? They seem to have more than their share of obnoxious loud mouths. They seem to have leaders who celebrate stupidity.

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