TRANSPORTATION

The Bullet Train That Could Change Everything

The Japanese Shinkansen is a high-speed trail used by JR Central in Japan. A private company is planning to build a rail line between Dallas and Houston using the same trains.
The Japanese Shinkansen is a high-speed trail used by JR Central in Japan. A private company is planning to build a rail line between Dallas and Houston using the same trains.

In Texas, a new model for high-speed rail is hurtling forward. If successful, it could mark a turning point for the development of public transportation around the country.

TxDOT Plans to Research Futuristic Tech

Texas Department of Transportation Executive Director Phil Wilson gets a ride in a Google self-driving car on Feb. 19, 2013, in front of the Hilton Austin.
Texas Department of Transportation Executive Director Phil Wilson gets a ride in a Google self-driving car on Feb. 19, 2013, in front of the Hilton Austin.

The Texas Department of Transportation plans to partner with universities to research futuristic technologies like self-driving cars, hover cars and embedding solar panels in roads.

Central Texas Access to Airport PreCheck is on the Way

The San Antonio International Airport has TSA PreCheck lines, but there is no place in the city — or in Austin — to apply for the program.
The San Antonio International Airport has TSA PreCheck lines, but there is no place in the city — or in Austin — to apply for the program.

Many Texans have wondered why no application centers for the TSA’s PreCheck program exist within 100 miles of Austin or San Antonio. But the agency is now taking steps to change that.

Report: SH 130 Toll Road Company in Danger of Default

The 85 mph speed limit on a portion of the SH 130 toll road between Austin and Seguin is the highest speed limit in the nation.
The 85 mph speed limit on a portion of the SH 130 toll road between Austin and Seguin is the highest speed limit in the nation.

The company behind the 41-mile southern portion of State Highway 130 is low on cash and scrambling to get an upcoming payment deadline waived, according to a report released this week by Moody’s Investors Service.

Firm Proposes Building Private Toll Road Near Dallas

Traffic on I-30 on the eastern side of Lake Ray Hubbard in Rockwall on June 6. This stretch of highway has become known for bad rush-hour traffic, which is expected to worsen as the area population grows. A proposed private tollway running between Greenville and Wylie looks to relieve that congestion.
Traffic on I-30 on the eastern side of Lake Ray Hubbard in Rockwall on June 6. This stretch of highway has become known for bad rush-hour traffic, which is expected to worsen as the area population grows. A proposed private tollway running between Greenville and Wylie looks to relieve that congestion.

The Texas Turnpike Corporation of Dallas wants to build a private toll road in an area northeast of Dallas. If built, the road would be the only private toll road in the state and one of the only such facilities in the country.

Uber, Lyft Rolling Forward, but Uncertainty Lingers

Uber and Lyft, two San Francisco-based transportation networking companies, have launched services in several Texas cities.
Uber and Lyft, two San Francisco-based transportation networking companies, have launched services in several Texas cities.

Uber and Lyft are now offering their tech-savvy transportation services in Austin, Corpus Christi, Houston, San Antonio and the Dallas area. But statements from officials in those cities say the company's drivers are technically violating local laws.

Lawsuit Over Road Funding Program Leaves Funds in Limbo

A natural gas drilling boom in the Eagle Ford Shale area in South Texas is straining the area's rural roads as more than 1,000 loaded trucks are needed to bring a single well into production.
A natural gas drilling boom in the Eagle Ford Shale area in South Texas is straining the area's rural roads as more than 1,000 loaded trucks are needed to bring a single well into production.

LaSalle County, which is in the heart of the Eagle Ford Shale, has sued the Texas Department of Transportation over a $225 million grant program aimed at repairing roads damaged by oilfield traffic. 

Despite Help From State, Counties Still Struggling to Fix Roads

In 2013, state lawmakers approved millions of dollars in funding to help repair roads damaged by trucks transporting fracking materials. A year later, many of the affected counties say that money will cover only a fraction of what they need.

Railroads Filling Void as Oil Pipeline Falls Short

The Jefferson Rail Transload Terminal at the Port of Beaumont on April 8, 2014. The terminal offloads oil from rail cars onto barges bound for refineries on the Gulf Coast. (Photo by Michael Stravato)
The Jefferson Rail Transload Terminal at the Port of Beaumont on April 8, 2014. The terminal offloads oil from rail cars onto barges bound for refineries on the Gulf Coast. (Photo by Michael Stravato)

As drillers produce millions of barrels of crude oil in shale plays in Texas and the Midwest, railroad companies are finding booming business in transporting the oil to Gulf Coast refineries.