Proposed high-speed rail
SAN ANTONIO — A proposed high speed rail between San Antonio and Monterrey is in the works.
One lawmaker says it would revolutionize trade and travel between the U.S. and Mexico and pump more tourism dollars into the local economy.
On Thursday, Representative Henry Cuellar will meet with the Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx along with state and Mexican officials to discuss the proposed rail system.
Instead of paying for a round-trip airline ticket to Monterrey from San Antonio — which can cost at least $400 — Cuellar said a commuter could hop on a high-speed train and travel between the two cities in less than two hours.
He said it would also let the commuter skip lengthy customs lines at the airport and crowded border patrol check points.
Imagine a high-speed light rail like the ones in Europe that would let tourists and business people hop from San Antonio to Laredo and to Mexico.
"Moving people from these two large cities in a fast way and in a safe way," said Cuellar. He's hoping that the high-speed rail will come to fruition in the next six to eight years.
"This is if everything falls into place," he added.
Cuellar said it would bring more visitors from Monterrey to San Antonio and that means more money being spent in the local economy, especially during peak shopping times for Mexican nationals like during Easter Holy Week.' Cuellar said the economic benefits are endless for both nations.
Businesses from Monterrey are already popping up on the north side... so much so that locals have termed it "Sonterrey."
"You can see on the northwest side a lot of people who have opened up businesses from Monterrey.
Cuellar said Monterrey already has the right of way to begin construction.
But opponents wonder: Who will foot the bill?
"I think one of our challenges is where will we come up with the money," said Cuellar.
While there's no price tag on the project yet or a dollar amount on how much travelers would pay to ride, Cuellar said they are eyeing Europe for examples and relying on the private sector to be involved.
Cuellar said some companies are already highly interested.
Opponents also worry about their safety. Murders and kidnappings have motivated immigrants from Monterrey and Mexico City to escape crime by relocating to Texas.
"You don't have to worry about driving in a car," added Cuellar. "The security will be there."