Public Cries for Rail Relocation

It was standing room only at today's community meeting to decide what should be done with some bothersome railroad tracks in Amarillo.

You couldn't find a spot in the parking lot, nor a seat inside.

In fact, officials actually closed this opening meeting because there were too many people on hand to tell the city, TxDOTt and BNSF what they think about the aggravating intersection at Southeast 3rd and Grand.

"My mother-in-law lives on this side of town, she had to divert twice yesterday because the trains were stopped," said Paula Martin, concerned resident who gets stopped by the trains regularly.

Authorities working to fix the problem have two options. Build another overpass at Southeast 3rd and Grand, or relocate the rail lines.

But they needed public input before moving forward.

"We've learned that this is a passionate issue and people want something done. And they're here to voice that opinion," said Paul Braun, the TxDOT Public Information Officer.

"Move it!" Said Martin.

"I think relocation," said Agatha Perez, a woman who lives in the neighborhood between

A majority of the crowd was in favor of relocating the lines, an option that is $10 million more expensive.

But residents say it's the best way to improve the city.

"The train is always in the back of your mind to do anything," said Perez. "Our daily life is affected going to wall mart you have to think, will there be a train?"

And that question will remain for drivers for at least a few more months.

"We take all those comments and include those in a value engineering study," said Braun

Many factors will be included in that study like safety, economic stimulus, feasibility, and quality of life.

But all planning must be done by march 10th, otherwise the chance for federal stimulus funding will be gone.

Public comment will continue to be accepted until June 26th. To add your two cents by writing to TxDOT at P.O. Box 7368 Amarillo, Texas 79114-7368.