High-speed rail proposed between U.S. and Mexico

BY newsdesk  January 17, 2014 at 6:45 PM EST
Could European-style high-speed international rail travel come to Texas? Photo by Flickr user Darkroom Daze

Could European-style high-speed international rail travel come to Texas? Photo by Flickr user Darkroom Daze

High speed trains could be the future of travel across the U.S.-Mexican border.

Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, Texas Department of Transportation Commissioner Jeff Austin and Mexican officials met with Transportation Sec. Anthony Foxx in Washington on Thursday to discuss a possible high-speed passenger rail line between San Antonio, Texas, and Monterrey, Mexico. The project could begin in 2015, with a projected completion as early as 2018.

The new train lines would cut travel between the two cities to less than two hours. But the devil is in the financial details.

The rail line would travel through the Mexican state of Nuevo Leon, and officials there said Thursday that they have already secured Mexican right-of-ways and permits. Mexican developers want to start soliciting private investors, but Texas is still considering its options.

The Texas State Department of Transportation is currently studying the feasibility of an Oklahoma-to-Texas high-speed rail line. Expanding the study to evaluate a San Antonio-to-Monterrey line would cost an additional $400,000, the state’s transportation commissioner said. And nothing can move forward until the study is complete.

Supporters of the rail line hope that private investments will fund the bulk of the project, drawn by the opportunity to link one of Mexico’s top financial, education and industrial centers to the U.S.

Fox Latino News reported that 80 percent of U.S.-Mexican trade passes through the city. Advocates of the project say that this would be a major economic boost for both countries. Skeptics worry about security issues, since the rail line would pass through regions that are host to some of the country’s most violent drug-related crime.