Hey, what happened to all the talk about commuter rail?

Anybody remember the Austin-San Antonio Intermunicipal Rail District? No? Yes? If so, forget about it.

Lone Star Rail District web site

I mean, forget about the name, which was sort of long and obtuse anyway. The six-year-old district, authorized by a 12-year-old state law, has shed the name and dumped its old web site in exchange for a punchy, fresh re-branding.

On Monday, regional leaders¬†will announce¬†the name change to¬†Lone Star Rail District¬†as well as¬†the¬†reborn web presence at LoneStarRail.com. You don’t have to wait to see the site¬†— it’s¬†already live.

And if you think the rail district has been rather sleepy lately, perhaps some other news coming Monday might perk up your attention. The district, working with Union Pacific, will start environmental studies for a potential freight rail reroute and upgrading of existing urban lines for passenger service.

Look for public meetings early next year. A federal decision could follow in 2011, and footwork will continue to secure local, state and federal funding.  

If enough moving parts align soon enough, officials hope to build the $615 million project within a few years, offering:

  • Up to 12 trains a day every day, including midday and evening service.
  • Amenities such as¬†Internet access on passenger cars.
  • 90-minute¬†shot from¬†Austin to¬†San Marcos, New Braunfels and¬†San Antonio.
  • Local service¬†at up to 16 stations from Georgetown to¬†South¬†San Antonio.

“It’s a new way of moving,” the rail district’s web site says. “Catch it.”

Except, it’s not yet a new way of moving. Not¬†quite.


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