High-Speed Rail in Dallas Faces Problems in Early Development


High-speed rail from Dallas to Houston. | Image from Texas Central

During the past year, The North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG) has spent time studying high-speed public transit.

The DFW High-Speed Transportation Connections Study examines the many methods of mass transit that include high-speed travel capability. The train wouldn’t be set in motion for at least a decade or longer, but analysts propose that the system run from Dallas to Houston with a stop in Fort Worth. The high-speed railroad is planned to have capable speeds beyond 200 mph.   

NCTCOG sites are currently researching the DFW population in the future and projections for highway use.

“This will help those coming into DFW from out of town, in particular, to be able to travel to the central part of the region, Dallas or Fort Worth, in a more efficient manner,” said NCTCOG Senior Program Manager Dan Lamers. “The population in Dallas-Fort Worth is 7 million people. It’s expected to be 13 million by 2045. The congestion in the area will double. We can’t build enough roadways to handle that demand.”   

Recently, the NCTCOG has run into some problems with the development plans from Dallas to Houston. After declining the case at first, the Supreme Court has decided to take it on after reviewing a petition filed by landowner Jim Miles.

The petition alleges that NCTCOG is not a railroad company because it doesn’t currently own tracks and operate trains. This puzzle is the problem that surrounds the case altogether.    

Miles vs. Texas Central R.R. & Infrastructure, Inc. was initially decided in favor of Jim Miles in court. This ruling stood until an appeals court overturned the decision.

The appeals court stated that Texas Central was operating a railroad and was, therefore, a railroad company, which they defined by the applicable statute. 

If the company is, in fact, a railroad company, then it can use eminent domain authority to obtain the property that is needed for construction to connect Dallas and Houston. Oral arguments will be held at the Texas Supreme Court on January 11, 2022.   

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