A new group of private investors has stepped forward to bring high-speed rail between Houston and Dallas.
More than two decades after the last project collapsed, the group Texas Central Railway believes it has the winning formula to finally make high-speed rail between the state's two largest metro areas a reality.
“We are not seeking federal grants or taxpayer subsidies,” says TCR president Robert Eckels, the former Harris County judge. “We have profit motive in this private sector initiative.”
Barring any regulatory hurdles, Eckels tells KTRH News that Texans may be just 7-8 years away from gaining something only seen outside the U-S.
“Its a fifth generation high-speed rail that would run 205 mph between Houston and the Dallas-Fort Worth region,” he tells KTRH News. “We would have a travel time of less than 90 minutes.”
Right now, the proposal calls for downtown stations in both cities, but Eckels says Houston's bayou may force them to find a more suitable site.
Eckels says his group has spent the past three years quietly working to make a “bullet train” reality.
“We've been looking at environmental issues, making sure there's no fatal flaws in the process, refining engineering and cost data,” he says. “We will be at a point to start the formal environmental process that will become much more public in late April or May.”
Eckels says they've already been in talks with airlines who he describes as “neutral at worst” to the idea. TRC also is proposing a line along current freight rails to minimize issues over land with farmers and ranchers.