July 18, 2013

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Conceptual Fraud

The premise underlying LSRD's concept that the existing UP freight services must be relocated to a completely new rail line somewhere to the east of their current mainline in order for any significant commuter rail service to operate along the corridor between San Antonio and Austin (or some point to the north if Georgetown reconsiders its withdrawal) is nothing but propaganda. There are a number of rail traffic sources along the existing line which simply can't and won't relocate to some new-alignment line (e.g., aggregate quarries, cement production, etc.) and will require continued local freight service, which LSRD intends for UP to provide during the overnight and weekend periods when the passenger/commuter trains would not operate.

LSRD refuses to seriously examine a far more reasonable alternative to construction of a new freight rail line to the east that would focus on improvements to the existing rail corridor for shared-use operation and provide double- or even triple-track capacity where needed in conjunction with grade-crossing elimination and significantly improved communications and signaling with installation of Positive Train Control technology mandated by FRA within the next 5 years.

The real objective of LSRD and its backers is to eliminate any future need for a double-track configuration within the median of MoPac in that critical section north of the Colorado River, and thus declare as "excess" the right-of-way outside a single-track envelope as required by AAR/AREMA interchange standards which can then be converted into an additional roadway lane in each direction of travel on the freeway (and likely tolled, rather than free). In claiming that a double-track arrangement for that stretch of MoPac and the existing Colorado River bridge is "infeasible", LSRD is perpetrating a fraud by deliberately ignoring the actual engineering feasibility to make those improvements in those specific areas and remain within the same budget envelope which has been derived for the new-alignment alternative concept.

Jim Vance more than 1 year ago

Is this article entirely made up?

If you want the reader to buy what you're selling in way of pro-rail propaganda, you might want to make it a little more believable. For one, TRE has nowhere near 200,000 daily rider. In fact, it has just over 7000 For two, one of the reasons TRE even has that many riders is because it connects to DFW, whereas this proposed railway connects with neither of the area airports meaning there's no clear reason to make a comparison with TRE on anything other than "it connects two cities." Which brings us to point three that Garland, Plano and Carrollton do not lie on the TRE meaning the TRE cannot have been responsible for "revitalized" downtowns.

It appears as though the author of this propaganda piece has looked at the total affect of the Dart and The T and applied them to the TRE, then equated the TRE to LSR.

I have additional concerns about the proposed tax benefits quoted here as well, as they appear to simply be projections of tax revenue increases regardless of the arrival of the LSR. I may have given these projections some credence were it not for the horrible misunderstanding or outright lies presented in the penultimate section.

NoMoreCorporateLies more than 1 year ago

Response from Brett Thorne

Thanks for reading the story. You're absolutely right about the TRE ridership and stations. Those numbers refer to the DART system. I have checked with Mr. Miles and made the correction in the story.
The property tax increases are from a study on the effect of rail stations along the route. It's available on the Lone Star Rail District's web site.

Thanks again for reading.

Community Impact Newspaper more than 1 year ago

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