Texas Rural Rail Transportation Districts: Characteristics and Case Studies

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S.S. Roop, C.A. Morgan, J.E. Warner, L.E. Olson, L.L. Higgins

Publication Date:

January 2002


This report is an evaluation of the existing Rural Rail Transportation Districts (RRTDs) in Texas. RRTDs are subdivisions of Texas state government that have the power to purchase existing rail lines that may be threatened with abandonment, to purchase and operate existing rail lines, or to build new railroad and intermodal facilities. The report documents both the history of RRTD development and the current status of each individual RRTD through case studies and a listing of common characteristics held by RRTDs since they were first authorized in 1981. In general, the effectiveness of RRTDs has been limited due to a lack of state funding; however, a few RRTDs have been successful in obtaining state or federal grants that have allowed them limited success. The report also describes the history of district formation and the recent trends that have allowed districts more latitude to act as regional economic development tools rather than only as infrastructure preservation entities. Examples of "best practices" in both preservation and economic development type districts are presented.

Report Number:



Railroads, Rural Transportation Districts, Rail Abandonment, Economic Development

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