The track may not be as clear as thought for the proposed bullet train connecting Houston and Dallas. The project's owner, Texas Central, recently touted an environmental review by the Federal Railroad Administration as one of the final steps before construction could begin. And just last week, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner announced a site for the Houston high speed rail station. But landowners along the route say the project is far from a done deal.
Among those still opposed to the project is Matt Schiel, who owns property, including a home and a barn, in a rural area right along the proposed train route. He tells KTRH the project's officials won't give him an answer on whether the track will be suspended or built on a berm. "If they put up a berm, they're going to cut us off...they could split us in half, to how our current driveway is, we can't get across it...so we'd have to figure out another way to get (to our property)," says Schiel. "If (the track) cuts us in half, then we've got to do a new driveway, a new house maybe."
Schiel also doubts all of the projections that the train will be an economic boon to the state. He tells KTRH he's heard projected ticket prices anywhere from $50 to $200. "Are you telling me that a family of five is going to take this train up to Dallas to see a Mavericks game? No way...if they want to do that, they'd just fly up there or use some other mode of transportation."
Texas Central hopes to begin construction on the train next year and have it operating by 2024. But if Schiel and others like him have their say, that won't happen. "This is not a wide-open area (where they're building it)," he says. "This will be going right by houses, schools, cemeteries, and people's places of work."