DALLAS, TX — The long-sought-after Dallas to Houston high speed train seems to be nearing construction. As recently as December 2017 federal regulators pushed forward with outlining a preferred route between North Texas and Houston, and in Jan. 19, 2018, developers unveiled plans for a passenger station in Brazos Valley.
But developers have decided construction won’t happen without first hearing from members of the public who could be impacted by the train’s development. That’s why community members who live along the 240 mile proposed railway route are invited to come speak at any of the Federal Railroad Administration’s 10 upcoming public forums scheduled to be held between Dallas and Houston in late January and early February.
According to a release from Texas Central, the meetings mark the end of nearly four years of work including planning, design and pre-construction phases. It also claims the train can make the jaunt from North Texas to Southeast Texas in a mere 90 minutes, which surely appeals to those accustomed to the laborious trip by way of I-45.
Members of the public in North Texas can share with the Federal Railroad Administration their opinions at the following meetings:
Dallas County, Monday, Jan. 29. 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Wilmer-Hutchins High School 5520 Langdon Rd., Dallas, TX 75241Navarro County, Monday, Jan. 29,5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Corsicana Middle School 4101 F.M. 744, Corsicana, TX 75110Ellis County, Tuesday, Jan. 30.5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Ennis High School 2301 Ensign Rd., Ennis, TX 75119
“Thousands of hours have been spent to ensure the Texas Bullet Train will be constructed and operated in a way that gives Texans a choice for the safest mode of transportation in the world. This process ensures issues identified are addressed in the best way possible for communities and the environment. We will respectfully follow this public consultation process to ensure legitimate concerns from all stakeholders are addressed” Texas Central CEO Carlos Aguilar said.
A Draft Environmental Impact Statement report from Texas Central outlines the preferred route for the all-electric train. The train will mostly follows transmission lines in a utility corridor between North Texas and Houston.
This pathway was chosen as the result of a study by the Federal Railway Administration and other government agencies. More than a half dozen options were considered.
The preferred alignment would minimize impacts on the environment and existing development and would allow the system to optimize operational efficiency, the release states. It also outlines a more precise route, that would accelerate planning, design and coordination with landowners and communities.
As for Dallas commuters, the report notes transit services in Dallas, operated by DART, could see increased ridership because of the project.
The Dallas station will be in the Cedars area south of the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center.
The project is expected to generate $36 billion in direct economic activity over the next 25 years, create more than 10,000 direct jobs per year during construction and up to 1,000 jobs permanently when operational. As the DEIS confirms, at least 25 percent of these permanent jobs will be in rural counties along the route.
The railroad also expects to pay more than $2.5 billion in taxes over the next 25 years, going to counties, cities, schools and other taxing entities along the route.And “this positive impact on tax revenues would occur annually, as it would create permanent changes to employment and earnings within the regional economy,” the report said.
You can see the proposed 240-mile route on Texas Central’s website.
Texas residents who can’t attend the meetings may still submit comments online.
Image via Texas Central, used with permission
This report was compiled with information from a Texas Central press release which can be viewed here.