More than three months after they questioned the viability of high-speed rail between Dallas and Fort Worth, Dallas City Council members have approved a resolution opposing construction in several areas.

“Back in March of this year, this was brought to the Economic Development Committee, and we spoke about the high-speed rail, and the residents and people got to understand we represent the City of Dallas,” Council Member Tennell Atkins (District 8) said. “By representing the City of Dallas, I mean that when you do any type of rail or any type of development … you always do an economic impact study. And there was not an economic impact study done. … But I did talk to the [interim] city manager, and we are going to get an economic impact study.”

The resolution ties the council’s opposition to the proposed Amtrak rail to the economic impact study, but the governing body has been consistent in its resistance to any alignment that may divide parts of Dallas and disrupt economic activity.

In March, Michael Morris, the director of transportation for the North Central Texas Council of Governments (COG), answered dozens of questions on the necessity and cost of the Dallas-to-Forth and Dallas-to-Houston alignments, high-speed rail technology, the design process, and public input, The Dallas Express reported.

“I understand the Houston-to-Dallas [route],” Atkins said. “I do understand that. … We’re talking about Dallas to Fort Worth. But we are Dallas. … If we don’t take care of Dallas, we’re going to be in trouble.”

As proposed, the Dallas-to-Fort Worth alignment on the I-30 corridor would create an elevated rail line through Downtown Dallas and include a seven-story station built near the new Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center, where officials are spending $3 billion of taxpayer money to rebuild the site. The council resolution aims to protect the taxpayer expenditure. Morris told the council in March that the station in the Cedars has received environmental clearance, making it unlikely this part of the project will be altered.

“Several of us had concerns about this when this came up in committee … with the [Regional Transportation Council] and the COG moving forward — literally full speed ahead — with us not really understanding what the Dallas-to-Fort Worth connection would look like,” Council Member Chad West (District 1) said. “I haven’t heard a single one of my colleagues have an issue with the Dallas-to-Houston leg. We’ve heard Amtrak up here saying that portion of the line is already approved. We want to move forward. We’re excited about it.”

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg told NBC 5 DFW in April that Biden administration officials support the Dallas-to-Houston alignment, The Dallas Express reported.

Still, Dallas Director of Transportation Ghassan Khankarli told council members on Wednesday that the federal approval process for any alignment requires a “presentation of alternatives.”

“And I don’t believe that a specific alignment has been selected” for Dallas-to-Fort Worth, he said. “So, they still have to look at the alignments in accordance with the federal process. So, that’s item No.1. Item No.2 is whatever the alternatives that are going to be considered will be matched with the [economic impact] study itself and what the study could give and … the impact of that alternative.”

The fact a Dallas-to-Fort Worth alignment has not been chosen was an issue for West.

“This kind of gets to the core of my frustration with this whole process,” he said. “You just said there’s no alignment that’s been chosen yet. However, we understand that the COG Is moving forward with environmental designs. We’re told up here in this public setting that there’s been dozens and dozens, maybe even 100 meetings, on this. But I have yet to see elevations or engineering designs provided by the federal government, the COG, Mr. Morris, you — anyone.”

Federal officials may review “two or three preferred” alternative alignments, Khankarli said.

“In the federal process … generally they will be developing different alternatives, and they will be developing the pros and cons for each alternative. And then they will make a recommendation of a preferred alternative,” he added.

He said the economic impact study would involve each possible alignment.

“What the resolution says is that we’re not supporting construction of any above-ground passenger rail lines at this time,” City Attorney Tammy Palomino said.

The issue of Arlington possibly becoming a factor in the alignment selection was raised again on Wednesday — just as it was back in March.

“But the question is, do we want to want to maintain the connection between Dallas and Fort Worth,” Council Member Paula Blackmon (District 9) said. “Are we trying to serve Arlington? … And I’m not likely to support something that’s going to cannibalize either a project that we already have on the books or future ones in the City of Dallas. So, that’s what I’m trying to understand. What are we trying to get from this?”

Officials are expected to hire a consultant to complete the economic impact study within four months.

“The RTC has had several meetings about alignment and has generally selected an alignment that mirrors I-30,” Council Member Cara Mendelsohn (District 12) said. “Along the way, there were a lot of other alignments considered that were eliminated — some because of right of way, some because of safety concerns, some because of challenges with [topography]. But what didn’t happen that’s really important is that the study that was done for the [Federal Railroad Administration] was not shared with the RTC. And that study said you should be using [Trinity Railway Express] and any other option is too expensive.”

Furthermore, Mendelsohn said “there’s no point” considering any Dallas-to-Fort Worth alignment “if the Dallas-to-Houston rail doesn’t happen.”

“And so until we know it’ll happen, why are we even spending money on this? Why are we doing anything? Frankly, the economic study you do may be so out of date by the time this is legit, we would have to do it all over again. So, in reality, we ought to be pausing until they get clearance that they have all the land they need,” she said.

Council Member Jesse Moreno (District 2) said he hopes the resolution “will send a clear message that the City of Dallas currently does not support the above-ground alignment.”

Council Member Paul Ridley (District 14) agreed.

“We will not let them anticipate that the city council will rubber stamp whatever proposal, whatever alignment they put forward,” he said. “We represent our citizens. They don’t, and we need to send that message,” Ridley said.