AUSTIN—Controversy continues to swirl around the Lone Star Rail District as opponents call for the commuter rail group to disband.
The district was formed in 2003 to build a passenger rail line from Austin to San Antonio. Officials with the district say they've spent around $25 Million on planning and environmental studies for the project.
Though the rail line remains in the planning stages, officials say it's actually ahead of schedule.
"As frustrating as it is to all of us that it's moving this slow, when you talk to people who do this for a living, they're kind of amazed at how fast we're going. Sooner rather than later you'll start seeing station platforms going in and rails being laid to them and we'll start acquiring the train sets and that kind of thing,” said Lone Star Rail District Chairman Sid Covington.
Earlier this year, Lone Star Rail was side-tracked when Union Pacific backed out of a deal to turn one of its freight lines into a commuter line.
"It's about being an adult and being honest with the people you represent being honest with the region," said Hays County Commissioner Will Conley.
Opponents like Conley say now that the Union Pacific line is out, alternatives need to be explored.
"Now that that is gone, I think it would be irresponsible for us to continue forward. No capital plan, no route, no really anything except a bunch of concepts and ideas that have just recently been thrown out,” said Conley.
For the meantime, the Lone Star Rail District plans to forge ahead. Officials with the rail project say they'll be holding meetings for public input in the next few months.