Bullet train plans still on track

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STAFF REPORT

DALLAS – At last week’s meeting with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, Texas Central, developers of the high-speed train said they look forward to working with the TCEQ and other state and federal regulators as this project moves ahead.

The train has been pitched as a potential infrastructure jewel  – and job generator – that could strengthen the economic bond between the state’s two largest metro areas.

Texas Central or Texas Central Partners, LLC is a private company proposing a high-speed rail line between Dallas/Fort Worth and Houston. The company plans to use trains based on the N700 Series Shinkansen, and has indicated the journey time would be less than 90 minutes.

According to Holly Reed, managing director external affairs, Texas Central, “The Texas Bullet Train will bring an economic jump to the entire state in a safe, environmentally protective way. Texas Central, developers of the high-speed train, looks forward to working with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and other state and federal regulators as this project moves ahead.

“The train is being designed with the latest sustainable features in its planning, construction and operation. The Federal Railroad Administration’s draft environmental report on the train system said it is being built to avoid negatively affecting streams, wetlands, floodplains and other natural and cultural features.

A single stop was planned between the two cities: Texas A&M University in College Station.

The train would provide a quick connection to the university’s dental school in Dallas and the Health Science Center’s Houston campus.

While bringing high-speed rail technology to the U.S. was a goal of the Obama administration, the Trump administration and some conservatives have been assuaged by Texas Central’s pledge to avoid taxpayer funding.

The FRA said the Houston-to-North Texas line is going beyond industry standards and federal laws in protecting the environment.

That includes silt fences and straw bales installed to minimize runoff into nearby water bodies, wetlands and other sensitive areas. Erosion control measures will be taken and vegetation will be restored at completion of construction.

  The train will be “grade separated,” crossing over or under all public roads. The project’s viaduct and elevated berm design means there will be no “at-grade crossings,” allowing for free movement of people, vehicles, farm equipment, wildlife, livestock, vehicles and farm equipment. There will be no cars waiting for trains to pass and no risk of trains interacting with cars. There will be no crossing arms, no whistles and no loud horn – a quiet experience for everyone.

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