People tend to take some things for granted, and it is no different here in East Texas. The Texas State Railroad that runs between Rusk and Palestine is a wonderful piece of East Texas heritage and provides a fun and educational outing for families and individuals. It is also an important draw for tourist dollars to East Texas.
Now, the continued existence of the Texas State Railroad is seriously in question. Budget cuts within the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department have already impacted the operation of the railroad. The trains which had stopped running from the Palestine depot have only started again because of funds borrowed from the 2007 budget. If the cuts continue as planned, the trains will stop running from both depots after this year.
Obviously, we can no longer take the Texas State Railroad for granted. It is up to us to hold onto this part of our history. Contact your representatives. Contact the Governor and Lt. Governor. Let them know what a disgrace it is to under fund such an important attraction. It is our tax money, and our Texas parks should not be allowed to disappear.
We can make a difference. The recent establishment of a Neches River Wildlife Refuge, which will prevent the creation of a proposed lake that would have drowned the Texas State Railroad, is a victory brought about by dedicated citizens. One threat has passed, but the reality of budget cuts remains.
Contact the people listed below. You can help preserve a vital piece of our economy and heritage.
Gov. Rick Perry
P.O. Box 12428
Austin, TX 78711-2428
Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst
P.O. Box 12068
Austin, TX 78711-2068
Speaker of the House Tom Craddick
Texas House of Representatives
P.O. Box 2910
Austin, TX 78768-2910