Office of the Governor Rick Perry

Rail Relocation Event – San Antonio

*Note - Gov. Perry frequently departs from prepared remarks.
Friday, March 18, 2005  •  Speech

Thank you, Judge Wolff.  I am honored to be joined today by Transportation Commissioner Robert Nichols...
...Dick Davidson, CEO of Union Pacific...
...and leaders who are committed to improved transportation safety and efficiency.

We are here today to sign an historic agreement between the State of Texas and Union Pacific to work in partnership to relocate freight rail lines away from densely populated urban areas across Texas.

The memorandum of understanding we are signing today creates an important public-private partnership committed to important goals that will benefit the people of Texas as well as the private sector.

Relocating rail lines from crowded city centers will lead to safer crossings...
...less hazardous cargo carried through populated areas...
...greater efficiency in the movement of products from the warehouse to the market...
...and the potential benefit of acquiring prime real estate for the development of new roads without tearing down homes and businesses in the process.

While the funding for this new vision has not been decided...
...and specific projects have yet to be determined...
...the significance of this agreement and the impact it will have on our communities cannot be overstated. 

This is the first time any state has partnered with a private rail company to consolidate, improve and relocate existing freight rail lines away from population centers. 

And while it is the first such agreement, by no means will it be the last because we are also discussing a similar vision of rail relocation with at least one other private railroad company.

For people living and working in San Antonio, rail relocation will not only lead to fewer stops at rail crossings...
...it will ensure quieter neighborhoods and cleaner air. 

And it will provide greater peace of mind to families worried about hazardous materials passing through their neighborhoods

And not only will this agreement improve transportation safety and efficiency for the people of Texas...
...it will be a tremendous boost to the Texas economy.

We hear a lot about how NAFTA has compounded traffic problems on our roads and highways...
...but too often we forget the same is true for many of our railways.

Relocating freight rail lines will give Union Pacific the freedom to expand and meet increased trade demands. 

And because trains will no longer have to slow down to pass through congested cities...
...shipments will reach their destination faster...
...saving Texas businesses valuable time and money that can be used to grow and create jobs.

And with the land freed up in our city centers...
...we could even build new commuter rail lines or new roads that can further alleviate our urban traffic woes.

Many of our railroads in Texas were built more than 100 years ago... when we had more cattle than people. 

Over the past century railroads have been a major catalyst for population and economic growth...
...but today that growth presents new problems that must be addressed for the safety of our people and the future of our economy. 

Texas has more rail crossings than any other state, which is part of the reason we consistently lead the nation in the number of vehicle-train accidents each year. 

Since 1984, more than 5,500 people have been killed or injured in vehicle-train collisions in Texas. 

And we have all been saddened by the recent tragedies that have taken a great toll here in San Antonio.

Today we are meeting those challenges with a first-of-its-kind public-private partnership that can save lives...
...improve our quality of life...
...and spur economic growth for decades to come.

Texas is continuing to lead the nation when it comes to innovative transportation solutions. 

Just last week, Texas signed a comprehensive development agreement with a private consortium to build segments of the Trans Texas Corridor stretching from Oklahoma to San Antonio...
...without any up-front cost to taxpayers for construction.

The Trans Texas Corridor will remove hazardous cargo from the congested freeways our friends and loved ones drive on today...
...connect cities and towns all across Texas to important resources and commodities...
...and put 140,000 Texans to work as we build the first six segments.

With the Trans Texas Corridor and with the agreement we have signed today with Union Pacific, Texas is proving that public-private partnerships are the wave of the future...
...because they can provide innovative solutions to real transportation challenges at a price taxpayers can afford.

I want to thank the Texas Department of Transportation and Union Pacific for their combined efforts on this historic agreement.

And now please allow me to introduce Transportation Commissioner Robert Nichols to speak more about this new partnership...

Please join me in welcoming Union Pacific CEO Dick Davidson...

(After Davidson speaks, Judge Wolff will direct all to proceed to document signing)

Richard Davidson, chairman and CEO of Union Pacific Railroad; Gov. Rick Perry, and Texas Transportation Commissioner Robert Nichols (from left)stand on the rear of a Union Pacific rail car following the announcement that Union Pacific and the State of Texas have signed a memorandum of understanding to move freight rail lines from crowded city centers. Perry signed the agreement March 18 in San Antonio and Houston. He signed a similar agreement on March 19 with Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railwa
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