Residents who want to learn more about a proposed high-speed rail line from Dallas to Houston, or perhaps comment on how they feel about the project, will get their chance over the next few weeks.
Six public meetings are scheduled beginning Oct. 21 in Dallas. Other meetings will be held on subsequent days in other cities along the proposed 240-mile route.
Displays giving residents a general idea of where the 205 mph bullet trains would run likely will be available, although it’s doubtful that a precise route will be disclosed, said Peter LeCody, president of Texas Rail Advocates. LeCody’s group closely tracks passenger rail development efforts in the Lone Star State.
“My best guess is, they’ll have a wide scope of area they’ll be looking at. I think they’ll probably looking at either I-45 or next to existing rail right-of-ways,” LeCody said.
Officials with Texas Central Railway, the company that wishes to build the line, say one of their goals is limiting the amount of private property needed for the project. If that can be done, Texas Central Railway could potentially avoid a wave of bad publicity similar to that of the Trans Texas Corridor, a proposed far-reaching network of toll roads proposed by Texas Gov. Rick Perry in the early 2000s that met with widespread opposition from groups such as the Texas Farm Bureau.
This time, Texas Central Railway has “already touched base” with groups that might oppose a statewide project that involves the taking of private property, in an effort to address their concerns before the next legislative session, LeCody said.
The project, which would use technology on display in Japan’s Tokyo to Osaka line, could reportedly be built with an estimated $10 billion in private funding. Texas Central Railway is leading the effort, and has initiated a federal environmental impact study.
By building the project without government funding, the railway could potentially avoid opposition from airlines, who have fought Texas high-speed rail efforts in the past.
Gordon Dickson, 817-390-7796 Twitter: @gdickson