Austin Mayor Kirk Watson testifies to Congress on inter-city passenger rail

Austin Mayor Kirk Watson was in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, Nov. 29. He testified in front of a congressional subcommittee looking into inter-city passenger rail.

The Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines and Hazardous Material held the hearing to consider the potential of passenger rails, while acknowledging the challenges they pose.

Mayor Watson's remarks highlighted opportunities for development with federal funding from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

He also advocated for connecting the major Texas metropolitan areas.


Watson said that even if the goal is to connect those heavily populated areas, the improvements would go well beyond city limits.

"These kinds of programs don't just benefit the major cities: San Antonio, Austin, Dallas-Fort Worth," Mayor Watson said. "If you look at that leg of the triangle, you have about 800,000 people that live in the Killeen-Temple area, and you have Waco. Along those ways, you have communities that would then allow them maybe not to live in the major metropolitan areas because of cost or otherwise, but still be able to participate in those economies."

The subcommittee also spent time looking at difficulties facing projects already in the works in the U.S. and abroad, as well as the environmental and social impacts of construction.