San Antonio council members, other officials call for rail service to Austin in letter to Pete Buttigieg

The letter to the U.S. Transportation Secretary comes shortly after the first meeting of the Central Texas Passenger Rail Advisory Committee.

click to enlarge Amtrak's Texas Eagle pulls into Austin last year. - Shutterstock / Ian Mason
Shutterstock / Ian Mason
Amtrak's Texas Eagle pulls into Austin last year.
The push to connect San Antonio and the state capital via rail looks to be picking up steam.

Four San Antonio City Council members and two local state reps signed on to a letter sent to U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg this week advocating for reliable rail transit between South Texas and Austin.

Authored by Austin’s Councilman Zohaib “Zo” Qadri, the letter sent on Tuesday a coalition of 20 South and Central Texas elected officials is ready to work with regional, state and federal stakeholders on the project.

“With such a booming population looming in the near future, it is more important than ever to ensure that we are making the necessary investments to keep people moving, and not just waiting in traffic on I-35,” the letter reads. “To that end, we believe that a robust suite of mobility options, especially rail, is vital to keeping our region a shining beacon of success and excellence.”

San Antonio council members Sukh Kaur, Jalen McKee-Rodriguez, Melissa Cabello Havrda and Manny Pelaez are among the signers of the letter. Texas State Sen. Roland Gutierrez and Texas House Rep. Steve Allison, both of whom represent parts of San Antonio, also added their signatures.

The letter, posted on social media platform X by Qadri, comes weeks after a group of 24 political heavyweights, including former San Antonio Mayor Henry Cisneros and Bexar County Judge Peter Sakai, gathered for the first meeting of the Central Texas Passenger Rail Advisory Committee.
That committee is also advocating for passenger rail service between Austin and San Antonio, an emerging mega-region that will be home to 8.3 million people by 2050, according to some estimates.

The idea of expanding rail service between the two cities has gained recent momentum after grassroots organizations including San Antonians for Rail Transit, RESTART Lone Star Rail District and the Texas Rail Advocates began lobbying local elected officials last summer.

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Michael Karlis

Michael Karlis is a Staff Writer at the San Antonio Current. He is a graduate of American University in Washington, D.C., whose work has been featured in Salon, Alternet, Creative Loafing Tampa Bay, Orlando Weekly, NewsBreak, 420 Magazine and Mexico Travel Today. He reports primarily on breaking news, politics...

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