Texans' taxes buy terrific trains

Almost a hundred new ultra-low-emission locomotives are cruising the rails in Texas (98 total, with 46 based in Dallas-Fort Worth, 43 in Houston, and nine in San Antonio) thanks mostly to a $75 million Texas Commission on Environmental Quality grant. According to this article in the Dallas Morning News, the $75m covered about 75 percent of the cost of the Union Pacific Corp.'s 98 new locomotives, which would mean that each one costs roughly a million dollars. The good news? "Officials said Wednesday that the benefits to Texas air quality would be even larger than they bargained for," DMN reporter Brendan Case writes. He continues:
Union Pacific places a value of $118 million on the emissions the new locomotives will eliminate over the 10-year agreement with the state. That's 57 percent more than the amount of the state's grant. Compared with the older engines being replaced, Union Pacific's new ones cut emissions of nitrogen oxides and particulate matter 54 percent to 63 percent, while using about 30 percent less fuel, the railroad company said. Diesel locomotives emit about 26 tons per day of smog-causing nitrogen oxides in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, just under 7 percent of the region's total "Nox" emissions, according to the TCEQ.

The locomotives were built by the Montreal-based RailPower Technologies Corp.

So, for $75 million, Texans get $118 million worth of emissions not pumped into the air? Don't quite know how they calculated the figures, but am I reading that right? If so, that's one heck of an investment return.

[Source: Brendan Case / Dallas Morning News, h/t to Domenick, from whom I also cribbed the headline]

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