Texas bullet train from Houston to Dallas clears 2 key regulatory hurdles, company says

President Trump and Gavin Newsom argue about reducing the state’s $ 77 billion bullet train.

Texas is one step closer to a high-speed rail link connecting the state’s two largest metropolitan areas after the railroad company behind the project received two key permits from federal officials.

The Texas Central Railroad, which plans to operate high-speed trains between Houston and Dallas, announced Monday that the Federal Railroad Administration has approved the establishment of a regulatory framework for safety requirements and issued a decision-making protocol ending the route’s environmental analysis.

“This is the moment we have been working towards,” said Carlos Aguilar, CEO of Texas Central Railroad, in a statement.

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In a press release, the railroad said it was ready to build and would “continue building as soon as possible,” possibly in the first half of 2021.

According to Texas Central, the project will create 17,000 direct jobs over the six years of construction. (iStock)

The proposed high-speed line would run from Dallas to Houston in 90 minutes, stopping somewhere between College Station and Huntsville in the Brazos Valley.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said the “landmark project” will “have a generational impact” and generate billions of dollars in the local economy.

“Once the system is up and running, it will create connections and capabilities that were never thought possible,” Turner said in a statement.

Texas Central plans to use equipment from Japan’s Tokaido Shinkansen high-speed rail system, chosen “for its reputation as one of the safest, most punctual train systems in the world”. In a statement, the railroad said the FRA’s final rule for special skills was largely based on the standards set for their system by the Central Japanese Railway Co.

“The publication of the final RPA and ROD by the Federal Railroad Administration represents years of work by countless individuals and confirms a very thorough and careful federal regulatory process that will make the Texas Central Railroad the first high-speed railroad system implemented in the US”, said Aguilar in a statement.

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The project already marked its first milestone in May with the publication of the final environmental impact statement.

Texas Central claims the project will create more than 17,000 direct jobs and over 20,000 supply chain jobs in the first six years of construction, with an immediate economic impact of $ 10 billion in the U.S.

However, the project met with opposition, including from critics, who argue that the private company would abuse a significant domain to develop the route.

In April, more than two dozen Republican lawmakers wrote to the Department of Transportation claiming that Texas Central “lacks the financial resources or expertise to continue this project,” the Dallas Morning News reported.

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One of the groups that spoke out against the project, Texans Against High-Speed ​​Rail, said Monday that the FRA measures “are paving the way for legal challenges, among other things [National Environmental Policy Act] Violations, FRA failure to carefully investigate the environmental impact, reasonable alternatives and financial viability of the project. “

Kyle Workman, chairman of the group, said the company is “simply arranging lounge chairs on the Titanic” with the announcement.

“While the Texas Central Railway continues to claim that construction will begin next year, the company recently laid off the majority of its employees Said to raise federal funding for a project they called “private” and “don’t need public funding” and have yet to file the required full building permit application with the federal Surface Transportation Board, “Workman said in a statement.

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