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Guest on The Infra Blog: Erik Steavens, Rail Division Director, Texas Department of Transportation

Posted by Steve Anderson on Tuesday, October 14th, 2014

Erik Steavens on The Infra BlogErik Steavens is a twenty-year transportation professional with a diverse background in multimodal transportation. For the past two years, he has managed his own firm, TIP Consultants, to assist public and private sector clients in navigating through the complex transportation funding and implementation environment. Previously, Steavens was the division director of intermodal programs for the Georgia Department of Transportation, where he managed the state’s rail, transit, aviation and port interests.

Steavens’ career spans all levels of government and the private sector, where he established himself as a recognized leader in transit and rail-related projects. He began his career at the Planning Commission in Albany, Georgia and was responsible for multimodal planning of the road, bridge, bicycle, pedestrian, aviation and transit systems in Dougherty and Lee Counties. He worked for the Federal Highway Administration for eight years and developed several non-traditional projects, including transit service at Yosemite National Park, financing plans for the Alameda rail project, and the Miami Intermodal Center. Steavens followed up this federal service with work on the past transportation authorization bill, SAFETEA-LU. In this capacity, he advised senior leadership of the United States House and Senate on policy and financial provisions that were ultimately adopted in the bill.

TXDOT Rail Division: Facilitating Progress
We’ve got things moving forward and advancing in passenger service as well as in freight movement…working with the federal government, working with local communities, and then helping facilitate public involvement.

Texas Has the Potential to Make High-Speed Rail Work
Certainly we have been blessed with corridors in Texas that have the potential for the ridership and revenue growth that could sustain a high-speed rail operation…There are very few places in the country that could make those claims. So we are optimistic. We are hopeful that we can help facilitate a project that could be a true game changer for Texas.

The Future of Public Transportation in Texas
Texas is one of the larger states in the country, and we have some of the larger urban areas, and they have evolving transit systems that are providing more and more capacity and use for citizens. Texas is also getting younger as we’re gaining more population, and the millennial generation is one that is looking for ways not to own a car…

Public Engagement Promotes Informed Decisions
…At the end of the day making decisions about infrastructure is our job: helping to help people make informed decisions. It’s very hard to predict what will be the issues of the day, what will be the things that carry forth throughout a political dialogue or a public dialogue…so it seems to be that the dialogue around infrastructure tends to be more reactionary than it is proactive.

Download full transcript (PDF): Erik Steavens on The Infra Blog

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