A request for federal funding on a regional railroad project by the city of Sugar Land from the U.S. Department of Transportation has received the unanimous support of Missouri City City Council.

The City Council voted 7-0 on Nov. 7 to approve a resolution that supports the city of Sugar Land in its request for funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation to cover its Intelligent Transportation Systems Railroad Monitoring, Communication and Notification System Project. The project focuses on upgrading hardware for the city’s existing railroad monitoring system and lays the foundation for connected vehicles to support traffic operations.

In addition, the intent of the project is to evolve and ultimately be a regional project that would benefit all of the cities along the Hwy. 90 corridor from Cravens Road to Pitts Road, including Missouri City, Stafford, and Richmond, according to a Nov. 7 agenda report.

“I think this is a benefit to Missouri City and the region as well,” said Shashi Kumar, Missouri City director of public works and city engineer, during the meeting.

The Union Pacific Corp. railroad track adjacent to the Hwy. 90 corridor serves approximately 32 trains every day. With the proposed merger of Canadian Pacific Railway and Kansas City Southern Railway, train traffic is anticipated to increase as Hwy. 90 is a major route to the south.

The city of Sugar Land is applying for the DOT’s Strengthening Mobility and Revolutionizing Transportation Grants Program, established by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The SMART Grants Program exists to conduct demonstration projects focused on advanced smart technologies and systems to improve transportation efficiency and safety.

The funding ask by the city of Sugar Land is for an up to $2 million Planning and Prototyping Grant, which will enable it to continue testing and prototyping equipment to determine the best solution before investing in system upgrades.

A question raised by Floyd Emery, Missouri City District D council member, was if council support would benefit the city of Sugar Land’s request for funding.

“I think so,because any federal grants support more regional-type projects,” Kumar said. “Going alone as a city versus having a coalition of cities builds up a stronger case.”

While the city of Sugar Land’s application is due Nov. 18, the U.S. DOT will not make award announcements until early 2023.