DALLAS - A new bypass that would open up existing freight tracks for commuter rail between Austin and San Antonio would cost $2.4 billion, with the means of financing yet to be identified, according to a report from the Texas Department of Transportation released yesterday.

TxDOT undertook the study with an eye toward relieving highway congestion and improving public transportation with less air pollution while also improving safety. Commuter rail has grown in favor among cities in the Southwest. Austin later this year inaugurates its first commuter rail line from the northern suburb of Leander to downtown.

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