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Legislature passes act to encourage transcontinental railroad through Texas

December
21
1853

On this day in 1853, the Texas legislature passed the Mississippi and Pacific Railroad Act, designed to encourage the construction of a southern transcontinental railroad through Texas. The act authorized Governor Peter H. Bell to request proposals for a railroad from the eastern boundary of Texas to a point at or near El Paso. The Atlantic and Pacific Railroad, a New York corporation, was the only company to submit a bid meeting the act's provisions. However, the securities the company submitted for its bond were rejected by Governor Elisha M. Pease, who declared the contract void and advertised for new proposals. There were no bidders on the second round. The first transcontinental railroad through Texas (and the second in the nation) was not completed until 1881, when the Texas and Pacific and the Southern Pacific met near Sierra Blanca.

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