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Friday, September 18, 2009

New rail bridge in the works for Laredo, Texas

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Officials of Kansas City Southern are in Laredo again, delivering the latest updates on the possibility of a rail bridge in the Laredo, Texas, area, television station KGNS reported. KCS officials say the project is now one step closer to becoming a reality.

Kansas City Southern first came forward with the idea back in 2007 so this isn't the first conversation held between their officials and local officials. But now, some city leaders say they're feeling much more comfortable with the idea.

City council member Michael Landeck says, "Its beautiful because it's not being done by politicians its being done by a company that's putting money where their mouth is."

In the comfort of the Southern Belle business car, Kansas City Southern officials say its full speed ahead with a $450-million project, designed to bring a second rail bridge to the area, connecting Nuevo Laredo to an area near Rio Bravo and El Cenizo.

"We've already spent $700,000 on applications and will spend $1 million before it's all over with, so we are totally committed," says Mike Haverty, CEO and chairman of Kansas City Southern.

This rail bridge is the sole rail bridge in the Laredo area but officials say in the city's best interest to look to the future and build a new one.

Kansas city officials say about 17 trains a day move over the international bridge. In five years, they project 25 trains a day will cross. And ten years from now, Laredo may be dealing with upwards of 50 trains a day according to the rail company.

"I feel more comfortable today than I did a year ago about the project," said Councilman Gene Belmares.

Nuevo Laredo officials say they've already jumped on the idea ... even protecting land where the train corridor would go, to give KCS time to obtain the right of way for the property. Laredo officials say they hope to see the gateway city follow in their footsteps.

About a dozen federal agencies are still reviewing a few details but Kansas City representatives say its nothing that indicates the project would be stopped.

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