1997: The Texas Legislature authorizes creation of an Austin-San Antonio rail district by the two cities and their counties.
1999: TxDOT completes a study that indicates passenger rail service in the Austin-San Antonio corridor is technically and financially feasible.
2003: The Austin-San Antonio Rail District (now Lone Star Rail District) is officially formed and holds its first Board meeting, with representatives from the cities, counties, transit authorities and metropolitan planning organizations from both metro areas, as well as two public members appointed by the Texas Transportation Commission. Staffing is provided by the Austin-San Antonio Corridor Council.
2004: The Rail District completes a macro-level economic impact study and an update of the 1999 TxDOT study, confirming and expanding on the previous findings and looking in more detail at the technical and economic aspects of the plan. The District also contracts for planning and engineering services.
2005: The Rail District conducts meetings at nine locations through the corridor to gather extensive citizen input, and its website receives up to 7,000 hits per month. Plans for a Locally Preferred Alternative service and route — what will become the LSTAR — are selected and approved by the Rail District Board as well as the Austin and San Antonio metropolitan planning organizations. The District also completes micro-level economic impact analyses of 15 preliminary station locations.
2005: In November, voters statewide pass Prop. 2, a constitutional amendment creating the Texas Rail Relocation and Improvement Fund.
2005: The District adds the cities of Georgetown and San Marcos and Williamson County as members.
2006: The Rail District receives additional federal funding to continue planning work and completes conceptual engineering and preliminary station location design, ridership modeling, and financial analyses and revenue forecasts for station-area transportation infrastructure zones and transit-oriented development.
2006: The Rail District enters into interlocal agreements to study station locations in downtown Austin’s Seaholm district (with the city of Austin and Capital Metro) and at San Antonio’s planned Westside Multimodal Center (with VIA).
2007: The Rail District completes a regional financial and economic benefits study as well as required analyses of existing conditions along the rail right-of-way and criteria for evaluating final station locations.
2007: Hays County and the cities of Schertz and New Braunfels join the Rail District, which receives funding allocated by the San Antonio-Bexar County Metropolitan Planning Organization.
2008: With the support of the Rail District Board, the Corridor Council and other stakeholders work with area lawmakers to draft and introduce state legislation and form a statewide coalition to endorse freight rail relocation.
2008: The Rail District launches feasibility studies for service in the SH130 corridor and receives funding allocated by the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization. The District also initiates market and customer research to support its branding program and future communications.
2009: The Texas Legislature appropriates funding in the 2010-11 biennial budget for both the Rail District and the Rail Relocation Fund. The Rail District executes an agreement with Union Pacific for initial feasibility study services on the new freight bypass.
2009: The Rail District officially changes its name to Lone Star Rail District and adopts the new branding for the agency and the LSTAR rail service.
2010: Lone Star Rail District begins work on the engineering and environmental studies required for federal approval and on identifying specific station locations and areas. This phase of work will also include developing final financing plans.
2010: Lone Star Rail District signs memorandum of understanding with Union Pacific. LSRD and UP agree to study the feasibility of relocating through freight service to free up the mainline between San Antonio and Taylor for passenger rail service.
2011: Lone Star Rail District launches analysis of possible alignments for freight bypass route.
Rail District launched contract to proactively engage local communities and stakeholders along the proposed freight bypass route on the scope and purpose of the project.
Lone Star Rail District Executed memorandum of understanding with North Central Texas Council of Governments to collaborate on long-range rail planning efforts between Dallas, Ft. Worth, Austin and San Antonio metropolitan areas to ensure system connectivity.
2012: Rail District completed alternative alignments analysis on freight rail bypass and will take three alignments forward into the federal environmental process.
2015/2016: Anticipated date for completion and federal approval of engineering and environmental studies and receipt of a notice-to-proceed allowing Lone Star Rail to begin final design and construction.