Austin Community College formally withdraws from defunct Lone Star Rail project


The Austin Community College District board of trustees unanimously voted to terminate its participation in the Lone Star Rail District Monday.

Lone Star Rail had planned a $2.09-billion regional rail project that would have run between San Antonio, Austin and Georgetown.

In 2016, however, both the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization and Union Pacific Corp. withdrew from the project, compromising funding and access to existing rail lines necessary for the project’s success.

The Federal Highway Administration then issued a notice of intent to rescind the project’s authorization, effectively ending its development, according to a memo submitted to the board by Neil Vickers, ACC’s executive vice president of finance and administration, and Richard Rhodes, ACC’s president and CEO.

ACC entered into an interlocal agreement with LSRD in December 2014, promising certain tax revenue toward the rail project.

Per the agreement, ACC’s contribution to LSRD was estimated to reach $1.5 million annually by 2028.

Although none of ACC’s tax revenue had been escrowed per the interlocal agreement, the college needed to formally end its participation in the project, according to the memo.

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Emma Freer
Emma Freer began covering Central Austin for Community Impact Newspaper in 2017. Her reporting focuses include employment and economic development. She graduated from Columbia Journalism School in 2017.
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