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Wednesday, September 28, 2022
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Dallas-Houston High-Speed Train Going Nowhere Fast

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High-Speed Train | Image by Getty Images

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Plans announced a decade ago to create a high-speed bullet train that would transport passengers between Dallas and Houston left the impression that the Texas Central High-Speed Railroad company would be working on the railroad all the livelong day.

But 10 years later, forward movement on the $30 billion project remains derailed.


The project, which quickly gained the support of national leaders, including President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump, involves the construction of a 240-mile rail line that would transport millions of passengers between Dallas and Houston in 90 minutes. The project timeline, according to Texas Central’s website, projected construction to begin in 2019 and the service to be fully operational by 2026.

Instead, the company has been navigating several barriers, including efforts to raise the needed money for the project and fighting lawmakers who were not on board with the project and landowners who didn’t want to give up their property.

Eventually, the company indicated that the capital was in place, and the Supreme Court of Texas ruled in June that Texas Central had eminent domain rights to seize private property at a fair price for public use.

Progress since, however, has slowed, and the organization’s review of land records reveals that land acquisition has virtually stopped over the last two years, according to a report by The Texas Tribune.

Tom Becker, a spokesperson for Texas Central, said in a statement, per The Texas Tribune, that “Texas Central is continuing to seek further investment and is moving forward with the development of this high-speed train.”

The company is also facing another hurdle – the loss of the project leaders to carry the momentum forward. In June, before the Supreme Court’s ruling, Carlos Aguilar, who served as Texas Central’s president and CEO, announced his resignation.

As previously reported by The Dallas Express, Aguilar said in his resignation on LinkedIn: “While I could not align our current stakeholders on a common vision for a path forward, I wish the project the greatest success and remain convinced of the importance of this venture for the safety and prosperity of ALL Texans.”

Meanwhile, reportedly Texas Central’s website no longer lists any executive leaders for the project. The news source said despite pressing for more answers about the company departures, and land acquisition slowdown, Becker and the company remained tightlipped about the specifics, offering only general statements to indicate the project is still on track.

“We appreciate the continued support of our investors, lenders, and other key stakeholders, as we continue to advance this important project,” Becker said in the statement.

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Pat
Pat
27 days ago

This is very sad news. As a frequent traveler to Houston I was very much looking forward to taking a high speed train, like I’ve done in Japan, England, and Europe, to Houston (and hopefully to Austin one day) This project is sorely needed for the future of Texas, as our population explodes. It’s also disappointing that law makers and land owners are so short sited.

Tanya
Tanya
Reply to  Pat
27 days ago

I agree, the rail system is so behind all over the US really and we need alternate solutions besides flying. I was looking forward to this project too.

H E
H E
27 days ago

So the people who work for this “company” continue to sit around and do nothing while collecting salaries, draining the funds raised for this rail project? This smells REALLY bad.

Taylor Sharpe
Taylor Sharpe
Reply to  H E
27 days ago

No, most all of them were let go. When Ken Paxton filed with the Texas Supreme Court at the end of 2021 to rehear their previous decision on eminent domain, investors stopped sending new money and most staff were let go by January or February, and then their CEO stepped down, leaving a shell of a company as a result of Texas politics chasing off business which cannot function with Ken Paxton attacking them and the Supreme Court holding things up. Paxton lost, again, at the Supreme Court, but he may have killed this project because it is going to take a lot to get back up to speed with new staff. They only found out in June they could proceed and that meant seeking more investors and hiring new people back, both of which are major hurdles. It appears Mr. Paxton’s view of high speed rail is that you can only do it the California way where the State owns and operates it. Of course, they have spent $80+ Billion on it… I don’t think us Texas tax payers want any such burdens and is why I wanted a private company do take the business risk and keep tax payers out of it! Apparently Mr. Paxton likes the California method better. I disagree.

Jim Horn
Jim Horn
27 days ago

This has been a scam from day one. They claimed they needed no government funds for the project and immediately hired lobbyists to work every level of government.
High speed lanes are much better than high speed trains.

Taylor Sharpe
Taylor Sharpe
Reply to  Jim Horn
27 days ago

Let me point out that a large portions of the uncontested (eminent domain) properties have already been purchased and they are paying property taxes on them. Most scams do not spend millions of dollars and pay lots of property taxes on a scam. Regarding funding, Texas Central, as a business, has to seek the lowest cost funding to make the business profitable. If the US Government has chosen to make some of those loans cheaper than investors are willing to offer, obviously you go after those loans first. Do you own a home loan? Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac’s federal housing finance agencies probably were sold you loan by a bank. Why did you not insist on a private bank loan at a higher interest rate? Well, because it doesn’t make sense if the government will offer better rates. That is the scenario happening here. They have non-government loan sources available if the government chooses not to make government loans available. And who are you to say Congress should not be offering such loans if they already made it the law? If you disagree with the law, don’t blame Texas Central, you should make your derogatory comments to Congress instead.

caseyp
caseyp
27 days ago

Of course it’s going nowhere. It was a scam all along. As usual it was to obtain federal funds to do benefit friends of politicians.

Steve Shockley
Steve Shockley
27 days ago

This reminds me of the supercollider